2 Basic steps to safeguard your wireless network

Wireless networks are everywhere as they are low cost, and easy to setup and minimalistic in looks. Just to save themselves from the troubles of running wires throughout home, many opt for a wireless network. I connect my home network through wireless. After we all got used to this ease and freedom offered by wireless networks, did any of us gave a thought about security? How safe is our wireless network against hackers?

I read lot of articles on ways to secure a wireless network and gathered some useful information which I am gonna share here. I soon understood the best way to ensure my network security is to apply certain precautionary measures. It is very easy to safeguard your wireless network, if you adopt these two basic steps.

1. Upgrade your router

It all starts with your wireless router. If your router is more than two years old, chances are less that it may have the latest encryption technologies. You may check the manufacturers website to see if you can find a firmware update which would most likely give you the newest WPA-based security features, including AES. As a rule of thumb, the highest level of security is “WPA2-AES.” This is the level of encryption the US government uses, and is the highest available by today’s standards.

If WEP-based security is the only option available on your router, it’s time to upgrade. Newer routers will likely have WPA-based encryption on several different levels. The normal variations are WPA and WPA2. Beyond that, there’s two different types of authentication; TKIP (as mentioned above) as well as “AES,” which is a newer and more secure method. AES and TKIP are the algorithms used during the sending and receiving of packets via the network. AES is more advanced and provides a higher level of protection. TKIP was really only developed to provide an “interim” solution until something better could be developed, which was eventually AES. Most routers that use WPA are setup to use TKIP by default, so simply logging into your router and changing the setting to AES can a make a world of difference.

2. Choose your password – No “12345” please

When it comes to securing a network, the password, or network key, is the most important aspect. Include a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols in a phrase that’s as long as possible. I repeat, please include each one of them. A sample password would be !@mlogg!ng1n. The only way to crack a network is by sniff out the password associated with the “handshake” authentication process, and if this password is extremely complicated, it will be almost impossible to crack.

The downside to this high-level of security is the fact that you may feel little bit of slow down on the speed of your network, but it’s well worth it than losing your data to a hacker kid.

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