Most Cable and Phone Company Internet providers are installing Routers with Wi-Fi® capability. Unfortunately, not all Carriers take Wireless Security seriously. Many early Carrier Wi-Fi® Router installations did not set any network security at all. To be fair, many early Wi-Fi® enabled Computers did not properly support the newly defined security methods so it was easier to just leave the Security Features off. Modern day Internet Enabled devices no longer have these issues so you should make sure that your Wi-Fi® Router has its’ Security Features enabled.
Public Wi-Fi® HotSpots are great and extremely convenient. Your Home or Office should not be one as this could allow anyone who connects to your Wi-Fi® network to potentially access your computers and their files without your knowledge or permission.
The best and easiest way to secure your Wireless Router’s Wi-Fi® network capability is to set strong and complex password [See my article on “A Complex Password may not be a Strong Password”] and to select the highest grade of encryption supported. For most modern day Wi-Fi® Routers, that is WPA2 or WPA encryption. Older Wi-Fi® Routers may only support WEP Encryption, which is sub-optimal as any determined hacker can break the encryption fairly quickly using readily available tools found on the Internet.
An important security tip is to make sure that the SSID, (the name of your Wi-Fi® network), does not personally identify your home or small office. Try to select a name that completely not associated with your family, likes, favorite vacation spots or anything else that might identify your Wi-Fi® network to someone who might be trying to locate and access your network without authorization.
The logic is simple: If the hacker cannot see or find you, it makes it that much more difficult to compromise your network. Instead of selecting an SSID name like “Palmer-Home” select something for like “Butterfly.” Someone passing by and scanning for Wi-Fi® Routers broadcasting SSID’s would have no reason to believe that the Wi-Fi® network named, “Butterfly” is associated with me. (And neither does anyone reading this article at that is not an SSID that I use.)
An even more secure option is to turn off the broadcasting of the SSID completely. To a user “Scanning for Wi-Fi® Networks”, your network will be invisible. Anyone who wants to connect to your Wi-Fi® network will need to explicitly enter the SSID Network Name and Security Key provided by you.