Network security at home is often overlooked simply due to a lack of knowledge. While we must admit that corporate security is far more valuable to most people trying to get in, home security should be more important to you. Both are important, but one affects you alone and the other might affect your company.
In short, you should secure your wireless network. Sitting at my home, I can identify several networks around me that are simply open. Most wireless routers prompt for a password to connect as part of setup, but some just ignore it and leave the network open. Not only does this allow ANYONE to connect to the network, but the traffic isn’t encrypted. Someone with a specialized piece of software can steal packets of data right out of the air. Included in these packets could be your credit card number, or other sensitive information, and all they have to do is sit in front (or close to) of your house with a laptop.
For a while Jake tried this as a selling point. Get some sensitive data from someone and present it to them and offer to secure the network. Unfortunately, the police told him he had to stop but this is the same as leaving a bag of money sitting on your front door step and then being surprised when it is empty. Most people will not tell you they “broke in”. They will simply take what they want and use it.
So what should you do? First, make sure that there is at least a password on the network. Most routers can be accessed at one of these pages: (this only works when you are connected to home wifi)
There may be others too, but these are the main ones. If you can’t connect, consult the manual that came with your router
It may ask for a password, if you didn’t set one up then it is usually:
If your login matches any of these, be sure to change this password too. This password is separate from the wifi password and should be different.
Once you are in, look for wireless security. It can be in many many places, but it should be obvious.
Put a password on the device’s wireless access.
Advanced users only!
An additional piece of security you can implement is MAC address filtering. Basically, you can create a whitelist of devices that can access the network. While not foolproof, this means potential attackers need to spoof this additional piece to connect, not to mention that they need the password too.
You could also hide the SSID and then they need to know that too.
If you need assistance with this, feel free to call us. If possible we’d be happy to help with this over the phone or remotely (though it is not preferable to deal with networking issues remotely due to the fact that any change will disconnect us). We are here to help in any way we can. Don’t leave your network unsecure for anyone to access!