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Wireless security tips

Recently, I was working from home; it was such a nice day that I took my wireless laptop out on the deck. While surfing the internet I tried to print something when I discovered that I was connected to another business’s wireless network!

Wireless routers have become very inexpensive recently. You can pick one up for less than $50. Plug it in and you’re ready to go. However, most networks, including many business networks, have not been properly configured to utilize the security features that are included in many of the routers I’ve tested.

Here are just a few of the risks:

  • File sharing: would you let a total stranger have unsupervised access your computer? Other users on your wireless network can read and delete files in your computer, or worse. This could expose you to identity theft. Or, if you’re lucky, they’ll just crash your computer.
  • Unlawful downloads: An unauthorized user could download copyrighted music. As far as the cable or DSL providers can tell it was you or an employee of your business, and that could land you in court.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Change the password in the router as soon as you get it. There are only a few manufacturers of wireless equipment. They set a default password at the factory. The password for your router is easy to find on the internet. Once someone has the password, they can open your network up to everyone.
  • Enable MAC address filtering. Every network device has a “MAC Address,” kind of like an electronic serial number. The router can be setup to respond only to MAC addresses you put on a list.
  • Enable WEP or other encryption schemes. This scrambles the data sent over the wireless network and only computers with the proper key can unscramble the data.

I drove a 1 mile radius around my home and found about 30 business and home wireless networks.
At West Fifth Information Services, Inc. we take the security of your data very seriously, I’m sure you do too. If you are uncertain of the security of your wireless network, call us today (908) 668-8444.