Friday, August 12, 2011

Setting Up and Securing Your Wireless Network


There are more and more individuals opting to work from home than ever before. The advantages to this are many including avoiding the morning and evening rush hours, being able to spend time with your kids and significant other, and doing everything on your own time. Though the pitfalls are many, the one that I will be focusing on in this article is that of setting up a secure wireless network for your home based business. Right now somewhere out there, there is someone with a receiver waiting to pick up on an unsuspecting person's wireless local area network. Their hope is to garner some sensitive information that may lead to identity theft, and stolen proprietary business information.

Most businesses owners are not technically inclined, though they may be power users, in general security settings is not one of the first things they want to mess around with in their day to day operations. This makes most wireless LANs a great target for information predators.

Here are some general guidelines to follow in setting up your wireless network. Though it may vary from vendor to vendor, the gist is more or less the same:

1. Setup the wireless access/router point via a wired client.
2. Always change the factory setting password to something difficult for someone to guess.
3. Enable 128-bit Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP) encryption on both your access point and network card. From time to time change the WEP key entries. If your hardware does not support a minimal of 128 bit WEP encryption, then it may be time to replace this dinosaur. WEP is only a minimal security precaution, which is better than none at all.
4. Alter the factory default SSID on the access/router point to a convoluted difficult to guess string. Initiate your computer to connect to this configured SSID by default.
5. Setup your access point not to broadcast the SSID if available.
6. Block off anonymous internet requests and pings.
7. P2P Connections should be disabled.
8. Enable MAC filtering.
9. Enable firewall on the network router/access point with demilitarized zone function disabled. Enable client firewalls for each computer in the network.
10. Update router and access point firmware as updates become available.
11. Make sure the physical router is hidden so that a random person can't reset the settings.
12. Position the physical router near the middle of the establishment as opposed to near windows to prevent others outside from receiving the signals.

These and other settings will collectively help prevent any unwanted intrusions on your private data.