6 Tips to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network

6 Tips to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network

Many people now use a wireless Ethernet network to connect to the Internet, and it is important to understand how to secure your wireless ethernet network. It makes it very convenient when you are not tied down by a physical cable, especially if your primary computer is a laptop. Unlike traditional, hard-wired connections, a wireless network connection requires more security to prevent unwanted access.

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While the steps you take to setup the security may be different because of the hardware that is used, for the most part the settings you use to secure your wireless Ethernet connection are the same. Let’s look at what you need to do to keep your connection secured.

How to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network

Wi-Fi

Securing your wireless connection to the Internet isn’t complex, but you must make sure you understand how to secure the connection.

Settings to Change to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network

When setting up the security, you should look at the access point (AP) to your local network. This is the gateway, or the entrance to you local network. For most home users it would be the router that is connected to the modem. When securing the wireless network you should change the following settings:

  1. The administrative ID and password. Not all routers allow you to change the ID, but if it does then change it to something that is easy to remember. For the password, ensure you create a long password (10+ characters) to prevent anyone from guessing the password.
  2. Note:

    Whenever you create passwords, you should always try to create long passwords. The reason for this can be found in the post Size Does Matter…at Least for Passwords.

  3. Set Security Mode to WPA or WPA2. This is what will actually secure your wireless Ethernet network. If at all possible, don’t use WEP, always choose WPA2 first, or WPA if WPA2 isn’t available. If you only have the option for WEP, then I suggest you upgrade your router. All new routers have the option for WPA2.
  4. Choose a strong passphrase. Much like the administrative password, choose a long passphrase that will need to be entered to connect to your wireless network. The longer the better.
  5. Change the SSID. This is the name you give to your wireless network. While this won’t prevent someone from using your wireless network, using the default SSID can cause problems if other people near you didn’t change their default SSID.
  6. Limit the number of IP addresses. Routers allow you to use more IP addresses on your local network than you could possibly use. If you only have one or two devices that are connecting to your router, you should reduce the number of IP addresses that are managed by your router to the number of devices that you use.
  7. Change to more secure DNS servers. I currently use OpenDNS for my DNS servers. OpenDNS allows me to block access to certain types of web sites when connected to my router. By changing the DNS settings in your router, you can also prevent people from visiting certain web sites when they are connected to your network, which helps to secure your wireless Ethernet network.

The above list provides some of the settings that you can look at changing within your AP to help secure your wireless Ethernet network.

11 Responses to “6 Tips to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network”

  1. musicbid says:

    I would prefer to hide SSID because this way no one can access the network. Additionally I use WPA key with the hidden SSID to make it more secure.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Hiding an SSID won’t stop people from accessing the network. Hackers use applications that can easily detect both hidden and broadcasted SSID, so hiding the SSID will only prevent the average user (who probably won’t be hacking into your router anyway) from accessing the router.

  2. darkduck says:

    My WiFi router came with security enabled and I cannot change anything there. Provider cares about it.

    Though, you can change DNS on your local machine. Not sure if router deals with it.

  3. Thomas says:

    I just can believe how many people forget to secure their Wi-Fi. Where I live i can see about 10 Wi-Fi and at least 2 of them has no security at all. I can actually use their Internet without any effort at all. I agree with your tips and can add two more tips:
    Hide the SSID so it is not being broadcast. If they don’t know you exists they don’t hack you. The other tip is to use MAC filter. Only approved MAC addresses can access your network. Okay it makes it a little less flexible but also a lot more secure.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      There are many people that don’t know how to secure their Wi-Fi connection as it isn’t something that they have needed to learn. I used to see a few unsecured networks in my neightbourhood as well, but they have since become secured. Most of them still use WEP security, so they are still vulnerable to hackers.

      As for hiding the SSID, many tools that hackers used can easily see the SSID, so in reality hiding it doesn’t work. Doing so will prevent non-hackers from seeing your network, but it is ineffective against hackers. While MAC filtering is good if you have the same machines connecting to your network all the time, I at times, allow different machines to connect, so I don’t use Mac filtering. Once again, hackers can spoof Mac address when they need to.

  4. For me, I also use the allow inclusion list. So I enter the devices’ MAC addresses manually and only allow those devices to connect to my network 🙂

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I used to use MAC address filtering, but stopped using it when I connected multiple devices to it. MAC filtering can easily be overcome by hackers, so I figure it isn’t worth the trouble.

  5. Usi says:

    some days ago my wireless net getting being used more then i use it, I thought some one is using it, and I just try to change the pass of it.

    but I don’t know these other methods thank about all them, I may conciser some of them.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Having others logging into your wireless network is never a good thing. If anything, you should setup WPA with a good, strong passphrase to prevent others from using your network.

  6. donnie says:

    I especially like that you mentioned OpenDNS. I’ve been meaning to try this out. I’m sure its much better than the default DNS from my ISP especially for blocking sites.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I like OpenDNS as I do have the option to block specific sites, and it also blocks known phishing sites. Many people also recommend Google’s DNS, but I’m not sure if it has the same blocking ability.

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