How can wireless be made safer?

Wireless networks must be secured, otherwise anyone with a receiver can:

  • Connect to your network: If you have a contract where you pay by usage, then you could find yourself with some very large bills.
  • Eavesdrop on your communications: This requires some technical knowledge but is not difficult.
  • Hack into your computer:. This is more technically challenging but is still not that difficult to do. Someone could use this to steal passwords, bank and credit card information, etc.

 

Recommendations:

  • Use the strongest security available for your connection. Variants of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) are good.
  • Use a long key, even if it seems annoying to have to type all those complicated combinations of letters and numbers. The key is the security that is unique to your connection and will usually be given to you when you purchase the equipment for a wireless connection.
  • Avoid using WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy) - this has been broken.

 

Sometimes, in order to solve a problem, some helpdesk staff will try to get you to downgrade your security from WPA to WEP or to no security at all, SP4A strongly recommends that you avoid doing this.