ARCHIVED - Taking steps to secure your Wifi network
Wireless networks are becoming more and more common in Canadian homes and businesses.
They provide convenience, but can also pose a serious data loss risk if not properly secured.
As anyone with a wireless modem-equipped laptop knows, it’s easy to find a network signal. And to those with bad intentions and cyber-smarts, an unsecured network is an irresistible invitation to seek out sensitive and valuable information.
If you operate a Wifi network and it’s not secured, it’s like an unlocked screen door to your house. It’s an easy mark for data thieves who can compromise the personal information of your customers and employees and imperil the reputation of your business.
Here are some tips to enjoy the convenience of a wireless network without laying bare the data you store.
1) Establish an administrative password.
- This should be something that you can remember but isn’t obvious to others.
- Ideally, this should not be a word one would find in a dictionary and include capital and small letters, along with numbers.
2) Select the name of your network.
- Ensure it’s something that’s unique but not linked to your identity.
- In other words, don’t include your name or address in it.
- Remember: this is not an exercise in branding. No one has any business accessing your business’s network but you and your employees. As a result there’s no reason for you to name it after your business.
- In fact, if you read your router’s manual, you can find out how to avoid broadcasting your network name or SSID (Service Set Identifier) altogether.
3) Turn on wireless encryption and choose a long, complicated password.
- Write it down by hand, or save it on an encryption-protected USB stick and store it in your safe.
- You won’t need to use it all the time, just whenever you want to add a new device to your network, like a new laptop or tablet.
- As easy to remember as it may be for you, avoid using your business phone number as this is very easy for most anyone to find.
- Opt for the strongest encryption protocol possible. Today, that’s called WPA2. Before you enact it, you’ll have to find out what protocol the devices you want to connect to the router will support. If some are older and don’t support WPA2, you may have to decide to either downgrade your protocol (to WPA, for example), or decide whether it’s time for a device upgrade.
4) Remember that this is just a quick summary of an important subject.
- The exact steps you need to take to establish these settings all depend on the specifications of your own wireless router.
- As a result, for full and complete guidance, read your router’s instructions.