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Wireless Network Security

Here are some tips on wireless network security. Read and implement them in your wireless network. Wireless network security is important, don't overlook it!

Change Factory Default Username and Password on Wireless Router

This is the first task you must do to better secure your wireless router. Factory default username and password must be changed when you start to configure the router. Those username and password are known publicly, so don’t leave it as default setting. If you cannot not change username, but for sure you can change the default password.

If you don’t believe, download some router manuals from vendor website, you would be able to find all these information…

Here are some examples of default username and password of wireless router from different vendors:

Linksys default username:(leave it blank) password:admin
Dlink default username:admin password:(leave it blank)
Netgear default username:admin password:password

Note: A good password is composed of number, alphabet (upper case/lower case) and symbol. This is an example of changing router default password.

Change Factory Default SSID on Wireless Router

Please also change factory default SSID of wireless router. Same as default username and password, it would be easy for people to know the default SSID even though you have disabled SSID broadcasting. The only information they need is your wilreless router model.

So, always assign the SSID that not easily to guess, and don’t use your name, pet’s name or home address as SSID. Quick suggestion, you can try to use the name that is unique and only known among family members but not others.

Again, here are some examples of default SSID of wireless router from different vendors:

Linksys factory default SSID:linksys
Dlink factory default SSID:default
Netgear factory default SSID:NETGEAR

Disable SSID Broadcast

By default, most wireless router will broadcast the SSID to all wireless devices. That means your neighbour can detect the SSID you use in your network and gain access to your network with a computer equipped with wireless network adapter.

If you really want to broadcast the SSID, please make sure you enable WPA2 encryption and MAC address filtering to limit the access to your network.

Note: Windows XP's wireless zero configuration will have difficulty to detect and join non-broadcast (hidden SSID) wireless network, so you can enable SSID broadcast on wireless router to fix this issue. Don't forget the encryption!!

Enable WPA2 Encryption

Don’t forget to enable WPA2 encryption to encrypt the network traffic and improve wireless network security. For most of the latest routers, WPA2 encryption is supported. So far, WAP2 is the best and strongest encryption among WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryptions.

If you are using old wireless router that only support WPA/WEP encryption, try to upgrade the router firmware to have WPA2 support. Just go to the vendor website and check what’s the latest firmware for your router. This is because WPA/WEP encryption is not secured and can be cracked after gathering enough network traffic. Check out here on how to crack the WPA/WEP encryption key.

Note: If so bad that no WPA2 support even after upgrading to latest firmware, then use WPA or WEP encryption. It’s better then no encryption at all. :o)

Enable MAC Address Filtering

You can enable MAC address filtering to allow the computers with specific MAC address (it's wireless adapter's mac address) to join the wireless network only. This is one of the methods to enhance wireless network security from unauthorized access.

In order to make it work, you need to define a list of MAC address that are allowed to join the network. If you are not too sure how to check MAC address, kindly click here to learn how to check MAC address of network card.

Disable Wireless Router Administration by Wireless Client

It’s advisable to disable wireless router administration by wireless clients. This means you can only access and change the router configuration after wire connecting your computer to router.

Note: You should also use https (with encryption) method to access your router administration webpage instead of http (without encryption).

Disable Remote Wireless Router Administration

Don’t enable remote wireless router administration from Internet unless you really need it. Other Internet users would be able to find and hack your router through brute force password cracking or security exploits.

Note: Have a check on this feature although it’s usually disabled by default.

Update Wireless Router Firmware

Usually wireless router vendor will release new router firmware from time to time for fixing some software bugs and patching security holes. You should update the router firmware when it’s available. The firmware can be found on vendor website.

Note: It's common to have security holes on home wireless router, check out this home routers security findings to find out more.

Turn Off Wireless Network

Turn off wireless router and broadband modem at the end of the day or when you are away on vacation, this will reduce the risk of your wireless network from hacking.

Monitor Connection on Wireless Network

Check your wireless router from time to time to find out connected computing devices details to make sure that no unknown devices are connected to it especially when you find out the network becomes slow suddenly. Usually you can find this settings on status page.

That's all for wireless network security tips.. I would recommend you to check how to secure Ethernet wired network after this wireless network security reading. You would find additional information on securing wireless network.

If you still think wireless network security is not important, check out this article: Your Router is One of the Latest DDoS Attack Weapons

Other Readings:

Cannot Connect to Wireless Network? Check Here!
Wireless Network Security Books


Content: What is Wireless Network
Back: Windows 7 Wireless Adapter Configuration
Back: Wireless Adapter Configuration in Vista
Back: Wireless Adapter Configuration in XP



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