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Securing Your Wireless Network

Posted by cotojo on September 20, 2007


Working from home while using a wireless local area network (WLAN) may lead to theft of sensitive information and hacker or virus infiltration unless proper measures are taken.

As WLANs send information over radio waves, someone with a receiver in your area could be picking up the transmission, therefore gaining access to your computer. They could load viruses on to your computer which could be transferred to other computers on your network.

Up to 75 per cent of WLAN users do not have basic security features installed, while 20 per cent are left completely open with the default configurations.

It is recommended that wireless router/access point setup be always done though a wired client.

You can setup your security by follow these steps:

Change default admin password on wireless router/access point to a secured password.

Change your WEP keys periodically.

Change the channel your router uses to transmit and receive data on a regularly basis.

Use encryption such as WEP and WPA. If equipment does not support at least 128-bit WEP encryption, consider replacing it.

Change the default SSID on your router/access point to a hard to guess name. Setup your computer device to connect to this SSID by default.

Setup router/access point not to broadcast the SSID. The same SSID needs to be setup on the client side manually. This feature may not be available on all equipment.

Block anonymous Internet requests or pings.

On each computer having a wireless network card, network connection properties should be configured to allow connection to Access Point Networks Only.

Computer to Computer (peer to peer) Connection should not be allowed. Enable MAC filtering. Deny availability to your wireless network for unspecified MAC addresses.

Mac or Physical addresses are available through your computer device network connection setup and they are physically written on network cards.

When adding new wireless cards / computers to the network, their MAC addresses should be registered with the router /access point.

Network router should have firewall features enabled and demilitarized zone (DMZ) feature disabled.

All computers should have a properly configured personal firewall in addition to a hardware firewall. You should also update router/access point firmware when new versions become available.

There is no guarantee of a full protection of your wireless network, but following these suggested tips can definitely lessen your risk of exposing to attackers aiming at insecure networks

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7 Responses to “Securing Your Wireless Network”

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  6. cotojo said

    Sandy – It depends on which router you are using. The access settings in browser address are 192.168.1.1 for Linksys, 192.168.1.0 for D-Link, 192.168.2.1 for Belkin. For others you can search online for manufacturers access codes.

    Once logged in you need to ensure that under Firewall MAC Address Filtering is enabled, WAN Ping is Blocked.

    If you are running Windows (any version) and have a separate Firewall, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Security Center and ensure that the windows firewall is off.

    If you don’t have a separate firewall ensure it is on and in ‘Advanced’ Tab ensure 1394 Connection and Local Area Connection are ticked.

    If you have a separate Firewall, ZoneAlarm, MacAfee, Norton, ensure that the IP Address is entered for your Network Connection. It will usually be something like 192.168.2.3/255.255.255.0
    There should also be a LoopBack Adapter IP address similar to 127.0.0.1

    There is a program that will set all of this up for you, details at Wireless Network Magic

    Hope this helps 🙂

    Colin

  7. Thanks for this. What does it mean when the warning pops up to say there is no firewall in place? How do they function that this can happen? I though I had them, and then the AVG warning came on. Simple me, I just don’t get it.

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