Wireless network technology has become common place in our daily lives, and we are beginning to find wireless networks available almost everywhere we go. We can find free wireless networks available at our local coffee shops, fast food restaurants, office supply stores and even while you wait to get your car’s oil changed. Take into account that WiFi is built into many of our consumer gadgets, we can consume digital information virtually everywhere we go. With that said, we also need to take precautions in accessing and using these available wireless networks. Here are a few tips to use wireless network technology safely and security at home and in public places.
Home Wireless tips
- Secure your wireless network by changing the administrator’s default password on your wireless router. There are far too many instances where the cable installer or phone technician installs the ISP’s wireless router and the administrator password is never changed.
- Enable WPA2-Personal with AES encryption. You should create a pre-shared key (passphrase) with a minimum length of 15 characters. Length does matter; it is harder to hack a long simple passphrase than a short complex one.
- Do not name your SSID to easily identify who owns the network (e.g. Jones Family).
- Hiding your Service Set Identifier (SSID) IS NOT a security measure. Hidden SSIDs (the wireless network name) are easily identified by freeware applications downloaded from the internet. Software such as, Kismet or NetStumbler are available for all the major OSes and can quickly identify the SSIDs for nearby wireless networks. In some instances, hidden SSIDs can actually cause connection problems.
Public Wireless Use Tips:
Whenever you use a public WiFi hotspot, there are two questions you should always ask yourself.
1. “Am I comfortable with someone looking over my shoulder at the information I accessed?”
2. “Am I comfortable with someone seeing how I accessed that information (by entering my user name and password)?”
When using public WiFi hotspots, you never know if someone sitting near you or across the street has compromised that wireless network, and have the ability to read/capture the data traffic. You are assuming the provider has implemented and properly configured security protocols to ensure your data privacy. Maybe they have, and maybe they have not. That’s why you always need to ask yourself those two questions when using a public WiFi network.
Here are a few tips when accessing and using a public WiFi.
- I think we all know, DO NOT perform online banking or other financial transactions on a public WiFi hotspot.
- Have up to date system patches, anti-malware and personal firewall software installed (where applicable).
- Don’t use the public WiFi hotspot. If available, use your smart phone‘s hotspot capability or portable hotspot device to provide internet access for your devices. With the portable hotspot, you control the access security of devices using your wireless network (assuming you actually configure the security features) and have the security of using your mobile carrier’s data network.
- Invest in a personal VPN service. There are plenty free and paid VPN services available in the consumer market.
PRIVATE WiFi is a personal VPN that protects the identity and sensitive information of anyone on a public WiFi network by encrypting everything you send and receive with bank-level security.
PRIVATE WiFi is the safest way to do everything online. And you can try it for free for 3 days by clicking the link below.
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