Secure Your Networks

Here is a funny story that has a point.

There once was an individual that worked at a children’s home.  (NO, its not me)  He decided we wanted to have a wireless network so he could work on his laptop anywhere in the house.  He bought a router, plugged it in, and got everything hooked up and working.  A knowledgeable person (Me), told him for months that he needed to secure his network to keep other people from using it, but of course he didn’t listen.

Anyway several people on campus and in the neighborhood have been using his Internet connection.  In fact about a week ago, one our college kids came back for the weekend and brought her notebook computer with her. She and several other girls proceeded to access the Internet and view large quantities of inappropriate material.  The housemom caught them and contacted administration.  Needless to say, that individual came and asked me how to secure their network today.

Moral of the story is, if your going to have a wireless network make sure it is secure.  Wireless devices are easy to get and can be used with any computer.  A smart kid can get hold of a USB network device and use it to connect virtually any computer to your insecure wireless network without your knowledge, even the old donated desktop unit they use to play games on.

Securing a wireless network is real easy and is explained in the manual or quick-start guide you get with the router.  Things to remember are:

  • Change the ssid.  Anybody that knows anything about wireless routers, knows that the default ssid is “default” 
  • Do not broadcast your ssid.  Unless you own a business that offers wireless access, there is no reason to broadcast your ssid.
  • Encrypt your signal.  The easiest way to keep somebody off your network is to require a key.  This will also provide some protection to the personal data on your machine.  There are so many insecure networks out there that a hacker will most likely leave your machine alone and move onto easier pickings if you require a key to log on.

Lets not make it easy for our kids to get in trouble – secure that network!

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