laptop security

Wireless Router Security

The basics of wireless router security can be summarized under these headings:

  • Naming the network or SSID
  • Enabling encryption
  • Enabling the fire wall
  • Changing all the default passwords of the router

The wireless router broadcasts its SSID as an invitation to local wireless devices to hook up and share a connection to the internet. The problem is that most or all routers come from the factory with default settings: "no encryption" and password equals "administrator." The result is that the purchaser of a router can have a gratifying plug and play experience straight from the box, but their confidential data is on full display to the neighborhood and keyloggers.

To remedy the exposure, let's look into wireless router security. Routers and network adapter(s) need to be configured. The details vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so check the instructions that came with the router. Is it as easy as that? Unfortunately "NO" and that's probably the explanation for there being millions of unsecured home and small business wireless networks around the world.

It's essential to turn "ON" encryption, but be aware that there are several encryption options to choose from. Most routers support WEP, but it's a superseded protocol. It's better to select WPA wireless network security, it's very secure providing a strong pass phrase (PSK) is used. Any device attempting to access the network will need a PSK to be authenticated. This means that the wireless adapter in any laptop or PC accessing the network will also need to have the required SSID and PSK.

If the router, wireless adapters or PC cards don't support WPA wireless network security, it's advisable to stay wired or upgrade. WEP is not an option, it can cracked in minutes. Consider a router upgrade and don't compromise by buying anything less than the best available. Routers and and wireless adapters are cheap compared with the cost of dealing with identity theft.

SSID's should be original but boring. Better still; don't broadcast the network's name at all. It will still be visible to sniffers, but it won't be visible to anyone else and hence not draw attention. As for the PSK, make it at least 40 upper and lower case characters plus numbers and punctuation. Make the job as hard as possible for crackers. Every password can be cracked eventually, so give the hackers a challenge.

The router itself should also be protected with an original user ID and password, otherwise wireless security settings can be easily accessed and changed. Routers have similar IP addresses such as, which when combined with the default "admin" password defeats the point of even the most secure encryption or tricky configuration of wireless router settings.

It's essential to always configure and update router settings via the cable supplied, otherwise the new wireless router security settings could be recorded by a cracker as they are being updated.

In summary, most home and small business computer networks use the default wireless router security settings. Hackers know this and fully exploit the opportunity.

The answer is to either invest time and patience in becoming familiar with wireless router security settings or use a tool such as Network Magic.

Surf The Internet At Work?


Windows and other software programs store history about the different activities that you have performed on your computer and on the Internet. This information is stored in the system areas of your hard disk and the built-in Windows functions like 'Clear History' offer little protection as they can only partially delete this data. Anyone can take a look at your history and find out what you have been doing on your computer, and this raises serious privacy concerns.

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