A Wi-Fi connection is a handy, cable free way to connect your Internet to a video game console, portable media player, mobile phone, or computer. The downside to a Wi-Fi connection is the ease it provides to hackers who are able to connect to your network.
The Problems Caused by Piggybacking
If a hacker gains access to your wireless network, this can pose several problems.
- Your Internet speed may slow down, since other people have gained access to your network, which will be visible by your Internet service provider.
- If you do not have a monthly data package, then your bills will skyrocket due to the additional bytes of data that are being used by the hacker.
- There is the possibility that your personal files will be accessible to the hacker. Do not write down passwords or bank details and save them in a personal file. Write them in a personal diary instead.
- If a hacker gains access to your personal email, they will send an email to all of your contacts in an effort to extract money from them. They may provide an unrealistic story stating that you are in trouble and need to have money wired. It is important that you contact your email provider and change your password to a more secure one with numbers, and upper and lower case letters, which will be harder to decipher by a hacker. Occasionally, your service provider may block your email if they view any unusual activity in your account.
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How to Secure Your Wireless Network
You do not need to hire an expert to secure your wireless network, although it is worthwhile to put a secure password in place. If you plan to let allow your family or friends access to your wireless connection, they can gain access with your password.
- Open the router settings. Do a quick check on the Internet for the correct wireless router number for your manufacturer. Belkin, for example, is 192.168.2.1. This page will show your settings and allow you to make alterations. If you have no password you may be able to enter the settings without providing a username or password.
- After gaining access, change the default password so that hackers will be unable to access your router settings to cause potential havoc. Hackers use a public database containing the default username and password of routers, modems, and other networking equipment.
- Amend the network’s SSID name to a name of your choice. For example, Linksys-5267 may be your usual router setting, which a hacker can throw into Google and obtain the default username and password for the router settings page. Although this step does not increase the security, it does block the original SSID. Hackers rely on a free Wi-Fi scanning tool, which provides a list of all the wireless networks in a specific area.
- Encrypt the wireless signal using a more secure WPA-WPA2 setting, as WEP is the basic encryption and easier to hack. WPA2 is only accessible to hardware that was manufactured in 2006 and beyond. Hackers and non-hackers can crack a wireless connection via free online tools like AirCrack. Remember not to choose a password that contains personal data like your date of birth or social security number. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
- Cover the router antennas with foil, which will restrict the direction of the signal.
- Check if your router requires an update.
- Connect to your Wi-Fi network securely.
Corey Hunter is a former cable installer. When he has time, he likes to blog about Internet technology on various websites. Compare DSL Providers here.