Tips to secure your home or business Wi-Fi

With the rising popularity of mobile devices and increased ease of setting up wireless networks, many consumers and businesses are setting up their own wireless networks. Here are some quick tips to keeping your Wi-Fi network secure:

The method to configure these options and features vary between devices. Please consult the user's manual for more detailed information.

Disclaimer: Using any one or all of the tips below are not a guaranteed way to make your network impenetrable, however they do increase security and can deter hackers.

  1. Use WPA or preferably WPA2 instead of WEP for the wireless security mode. WEP protection is an older technology used to protect Wi-Fi networks. WEP has proven to be easily circumvented and should not be used. If your Wi-Fi access point or router does not support WPA or WPA2 you should consider upgrading that device.

  2. When using WPA or WPA2 use a strong passphrase. Like passwords, the passphrase should be long and not contain dictionary words, also use numbers and symbols. Longer more complex passwords/phrases take longer to crack and can be a deterrent to hackers.

  3. Set up an administrator password on your router/access point. Most routers/access points ship with either the administrator password turned off or set to a common default such as "admin" or "0000". Changing or turning on this password can prevent someone from inadvertently or maliciously changing you network settings.

  4. Hide your network name (sometimes called an SSID). After devices are configure to connect to your wireless network the router/access point no longer needs to broadcast the network name making it easy to connect to. Choosing to hide (or not broadcast) your network name/SSID makes it more difficult but not impossible to find. This may prevent unwanted individuals and inexperienced hackers from accessing your network.

  5. Use a separate wireless network for guests. Some newer routers/access points offer this feature or you could set up another router/access point to create a separate guest network. When configured properly, this can be used to isolate guest traffic from your home or business network and prevent guests from snooping around. Also you can use a more different WPA/WPA2 passphrase that you change often. This way you do not have to give out your strong WPA/WPA2 passphrase from your regular network. It can also give you some level of control over who uses the guest network.

  6. If you want to only allow certain devices to use your network you may want to enable MAC address filtering. This allows only the certain devices you specify to access your network.

  7. Turn Off DHCP. DHCP is a technology routers use to assign each computer an address that it uses to speak to other computers. Turning this feature off requires you to manually configure these addresses however also makes it more difficult for unwanted users to communicate with systems on your network.

There are many more ways to secure your wireless network and your requirements may vary. Please consult with your IT person or computer guru to learn more.