Because lock it or lose it isn’t just about your car
Wi-Fi or wireless networks are great for home and small business users alike, allowing you to use multiple internet capable devices on one shared connection.
But wireless networks can be vulnerable to eavesdropping, hacking and freeloaders if you don’t use proper protection when you set up a network.
Using a wireless router? Check the following:
You’re using strong encryption
Ideally your wireless modem or router should be using WPA2 encryption. If you’re stuck with WEP then it’s time to upgrade.
You use a strong passphrase to go online
A complex passphrase made up of at least 15 characters that includes upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols will help prevent unwanted users.
You have changed the default router login
Out of the box your equipment may have a blank login or be set to use admin/admin to gain access. Default router passwords are easily available on the internet so it pays to change this administrative account so it requires a strong password to login and change settings.
If you leave your internet connection open or unsecure, neighbours may be able to surf for free and use your data allowance or download illegal content on your account.
You have disabled Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)
Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS was designed as an easy way for home users who know little about wireless security to set up Wi-Fi Protected Access, making it easy to add new devices to an existing network without having to enter a long passphrase.
In 2011 it was discovered that the WPS PIN feature could be compromised by a brute-force attack. As a result, router owners are encouraged to turn off the WPS PIN feature although this may not be possible on some older models.
Public Wi-Fi security
If you use your computer or smartphone on public Wi-Fi connections you are potentially sharing your information with others on that network. Think twice before using these connections to buy online, check your bank accounts or read sensitive emails.
It’s easy for criminals to set up a wireless hotspot to tempt you to connect so they can capture passwords – stick with trusted providers or if you use these services a lot consider using an encrypted VPN service or mobile data stick.
- Read about our Wireless Wednesday Wardriving research project in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington
- Sophos has tips for securing your wireless connection
- Read the Netsafe blog on ‘evil twin’ attacks
- Read Google’s advice on wireless security or watch the video below: