19. July 2009, 15:38 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Research has shown that eighty percent of people with wireless home networks don’t turn on the security features. The biggest reason given is that it slows down the network. Compounding this, most wi-fi routers ship from the manufacturer with security turned off by default. The following are five common security errors made with wi-fi networks:

  • Not changing the default password - Far too many people set up their nice new router and then forget to change the factory default password. This can let intruders access the router, change settings giving themselves free access and even lock you out, at least temporarily. Always change the default router password.
  • Not enabling encrypted connections - Many people don’t enable the encryption features as they tend to slow the connection speeds somewhat. If you don’t enable encryption, all text such as e-mails, passwords, account numbers are sent in the clear and can be retrieved using any number of tools for sniffing wireless data. WEP is easily broken but is better than nothing. The best currently available in consumer routers is to use WPA2 if your router supports it; if not WPA2 then WEP. Always enable encryption.
  • Not enabling security settings - A large number of folks install their new router, connect it up and once they have access move on to other things. It is worth spending some time with the manual and the security settings. This can let intruders manipulate your connection and network as well as give them possible access to devices and machines connected to the router. Always set and test your security settings.
  • Too enthusiastic toggling of settings - Some will happily and rapidly turn on all sorts of new switches without carefully thinking through how they are setting up their network. This can lead to problems. For example turning on MAC number filtering and forgetting to enable access for your main machine can lock you out of your own network. Apply settings, especially security settings, carefully and double check before applying them.
  • Permit open access - While letting other people access your router and hence network is altruistic, it can also lead to major problems if someone decides to abuse your generosity. One way is to set the SSID of the router to a contact e-mail to request access. Note that not all Internet Service Provider’s Terms of Service permit sharing your connection. Consider carefully before permitting open access to your wi-fi node.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: wi-fi,security,mistakes



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