Wireless security is important in the home network for several reasons: The most obvious reason is someone gain access your wireless network easily and spy on your online activities. If they are educated crackers then they can even access your hard drive easily. Another reason is some one can use your wireless network and conduct some illegal activities. You will be responsible all activities they do by using your wireless network since you are owner of the ip.
so now question is how to make your wireless network secure. The steps I will mention below are easy to implement.
- Use WPA encryption with strong password
- Enable MAC filtering on your router (Plus some other configurations
Now I will discuss these two steps here:
Using encryption and strong password
If you don’t use any encryption for your wireless, that means any body can access your wireless network if their machine are in your wireless antenna’s transmission range. Ok, so we need to use encryption but which one; WEP or WPA ?
WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. It is introduced in the 1997. It worked well at the beginning, however security analysts discovered that WEP could suffer from Related-key attack. Basically, it means a kid can hack your WEP protected network in 10 minutes by using some hacking applications. Ok, let’s use WPA, but remember we still need to choose a strong password, the password should not be guessable by others. I have two suggestion for you for choosing the password:
1-)It should contain at least one special character, one lower and upper case and one number. The length should be more than 8 characters.
2-) If you don’t like first suggestion then take this one: Use a long phrase, or a sentence; it should be easy to remember for you but hard to guess for crackers- something like ” It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom.” or “Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!”
Later, I will mention WEP and WPA as well as choosing strong password in detail.
Enable MAC filtering on your router (Plus some other configurations)
Mac filtering makes your network accepts only the computers which you want to have access. Oh, now I can hear that you are saying ” Hey Ismail, we already choose a good encryption method and a strong password, aren’t those enough? why do we need to use MAC filter?!”
Well, there are two reasons. First reason is some of modems don’t support WPA (like mine!) so you must use mac filter to be sure that you have a protected network. Second reason is even though WPA is strong encryption mechanism, it can still be hacked by using dictionary attack ( a kind of brute force attack). If you watch that kid’s video and realize how a kid can hack your wpa by using simple tools and probably not knowing how they work but knowing what they do; I can hear that you are now saying “Thanks, thanks Ismail, you saved our network by suggesting mac filtering:-)”
Ahh, I didn’t mention how to set up mac filtering. Ok, if you are using Linux then go to terminal and type route, the ip with G flag is your gate way. For Windows users, start->run->cmd.exe (or simply start->type cmd in search box for vista) then type ipconfig. Your router ip is the ip of Default Gateway- usually 192.168.2.1 or 192.168.0.1-
After you determine your router’s ip, then type that ip in your browser. You will see your router page, login there, and change your default password and user name. This is so important, other wise anybody who can access your router webpage, can change your encryption password, router password, firewall configurations….
After that, check your firewall settings and be sure that it is on. Finally add your mac address in the mac filter. (You can get your mac address with ipconfig /all command on Windows or ifconfig command in Linux and Mac-)
I think we are done! Congrats!!
Having strong password with WPA encryption, configuring your router and change its default password, using mac filtering, turning your router’s firewall on make your network more secure and protected.