How To Set Up Wireless Security On Wireless Network
Having WiFi in your home or office seems to be a necessity for most of us these days. Many people set up their own networks with little knowledge of how WiFi works or the dangers of low wireless security. There are different forms and methods for securing your WiFi network; you should find the method that best fits you. Furthermore, if you do not implement one of these methods of security, you are essentially a target. It is only a matter of time before someone exploits you.
Anyone can access your unsecured network and do whatever they wish. There are reports across the Internet of horror stories involving unsecured WiFi. If someone connects to your unsecured WiFi, they can do anything, which will then be traced back to your residence or office. For example, someone accessing your unsecured WiFi could use it to download or access illegal information or even commit cyber crimes. A trace of the traffic will lead authorities to your address. Once your IP address is traced as the source of this violation, you could end up being prosecuted for a crime you didn't even commit. Since setting up security on your WiFi is a relatively simple process, there is no reason to leave yourself open to possible exploitation.
One of the most important things a person should do is take the time to learn how to set up their WiFi security to protect themselves. If you are unsure of the method for securing your WiFi network, there are a few simple steps below that you can follow to set up your security.
Finding IP Address of Router
First, you need to access your WiFi router by locating the IP address of your router. Most of the time it is either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.
However, if you need to figure out the IP, here's how:
In Windows you will need to load up a command prompt and enter ipconfig. Mac users will use netstat -nr and Linux users will use route. You will see something similar to the image below in Windows. What you are looking for is the “Default Gateway.” My router IP is 192.168.1.1.
Logging Into the Router
Once you get the default gateway you need to enter it in to your web browser's address bar. Once you enter the address, a login screen or prompt will appear. You will need the username and password for your router.
Common router default usernames and passwords are:
Linksys – Use admin for both username and password.
Netgear – Use admin for username and password for the password.
If you used the default username or password, the next step would be to change the default password. In the "Administration" section of the Linksys router you will find "Management," as seen below. In the "Management" area you can change your router access password. Make sure to keep track of this password. If the password is lost you will have to reset the router to factory defaults and lose all your settings. Once this is finished, be sure to save your settings.
Setting Up Wireless Security With the Router
The next step would be to secure your WiFi. If you click "Wireless" at the top and go in to the "Wireless Security" section, you will see a screen similar to the image below. Once there, select which security mode you wish to use. I would like to recommend using WPA2 with AES algorithms. You can set the WPA Shared Key to something you will remember, but with all passwords, the more complex you make it with caps and special characters, the more secure it is. Make sure to save your settings.
I would like to point out that all new devices should support WPA2 security but some legacy items may not. If you have legacy items you wish to use, you may want to try securing with WPA or WEP if you have difficulties connecting them to your WiFi. I don't recommend using them unless you have to.
Creation of MAC Address
Another method to secure your network (perhaps the most secure way) would be to create a MAC address list of all of your devices. Under the same Wireless section as before, next to "Wireless Security," you will see "Wireless MAC filter" section. If you enable this feature you can tell your router to only permit the MAC addresses listed to access your wireless network. Some people only use this method without any other form of security. An example of what that section may look like in your router can be seen below.
No matter which method you use to secure your WiFi network it is better than no security at all. If you take these few steps to secure your WiFi you are protecting your computers, your network, your data, and, most importantly, yourself from unwanted attacks or problems.