Wireless security is the first step in ensuring that your network stay safe. By using an encrypted wireless link to your router with access protected with a password, you can keep unauthorized people from using your resources.
It’s important to understand the security aspects of your wireless connection and use them properly. Choosing the right type of wireless security will determine how secure your system really is. The choice is often dictated by what your router supports, but generally your choice consists of:
- WEP – an older standard that’s generally considered easy to break into. Don’t use WEP if there’s an alternative.
- WPA – better than WEP, but still considered to be a bit on the not-so-secure side
- WPA2 – the most secure of the possible choices. Choose this one.
Remember – once you’ve enabled wireless security on your router, also set a strong password to keep it safe.
Some routers support a special “Guest Access” mode which allows you to give visitors to your home temporary access to your wireless network. Guest Access is good because your guests can have access to your network without you revealing your main wireless password.
An added bonus of Guest Access is that your guests are limited in what they’re allowed to do on your network. For instance, Guest Access normally does not allow your guests to access the router’s administrator control panel.
Dangers of running an open system
An alternative to using wireless security is to run a completely open system and allow anyone to connect to your wireless network. Many people take this approach as they feel that it’s positive to share their resources with others.
Unfortunately, this idea is quite misguided and very dangerous. Remember, if you allow strangers to use your wireless network anything that they do on it will ultimately be traceable back to you. Most of the time this is not a problem, but sometimes it is. If some anonymous person connects to your wireless network and does something illegal like download copyrighted movies or other illegal media, this activity will be traceable back to you. And good luck trying to explain it away.
Don’t take a chance, always use wireless security.