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6 Ways to Secure Your Wireless Network

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Many of us have a wireless network at home where we use devices such as cell phones, computers, tablets, smart TVs and gaming devices, to name a few. Unfortunately, we live in an age when security breaches and hackers are a constant threat. Business Consumer Alliance has covered several stories regarding data breaches, threats to security, and identity theft. Taking the time to secure your wireless network is vital and can help protect your devices from being compromised.

Know Your Network

What does it mean to “go wireless”? This generally requires connecting an Internet “access point” to a wireless router which sends signals through the air, allowing Internet access to your device. Any device in range can access the Internet using your connection if you have not taken precautions to limit access to your network. Information sent over your wireless network can be stolen by hackers and crooks and used to commit crimes and other unscrupulous acts. Here are six tips to help secure your network:

  1. Change your routers name and password from the default. The service set identifier (SSID) or router name is usually a standard default I.D. assigned by the manufacturer. Change it to something unique and select a strong password. The longer, the better. Some suggestions for choosing a password include:
    • Using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Include lower and uppercase letters.
    • Use something obscure such as switching up a common phrase like “goodnight” by only using the consonants or misspelling the words (ex. “gdnght” or “GuDNyTe”)
    • Pick a sentence that has personal meaning to use as a password (including spaces). For example, “My Favorite Movie Character is Batman”.
  2. Use encryption on your wireless network. Encryption scrambles the information sent over your network connection so that the information is not accessible to others. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) are two types of encryption that can be used. It’s suggested that WPA2 is currently the safest way to secure your connection. Check that your wireless router has the encryption feature turned on. If you need help completing this task, consult the router’s manual/directions or check the company’s website for instructions.
  3. Allow only specific devices to access your network. You should also turn off guest networking and remote networking so others don’t have unauthorized access to your router.
  4. Log out. Most changes require you to log in as administrator. Make sure to log out after making changes so that someone else cannot have control of your device.
  5. Turn it off. If you are not using the network, consider shutting it off completely to disable access to your connection.
  6. Keep your router, software, and firmware updated. Viruses and spyware can attack a device. Keeping your protections updated can help improve security. Complete any occasional updates to your router and check the manufacturer’s website for available new versions of the software.

Hackers and scammers spend countless hours crafting new, devious ways to invade our space and gain access to information and personal data. Being proactive can help guard against common attacks from dubious characters and crooks.

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About Business Consumer Alliance Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.