Securing Your Wireless Computer
Wireless internet connections aren’t just convenient for you – they might also be convenient for hackers. Fortunately, it is not difficult to protect yourself.
Wireless systems can be very vulnerable to digital intruders, possibly compromising sensitive or personal data. However, you can protect yourself by using WEP or WPA encryption, which requires users to enter a password before they are allowed to access your wireless network.
This encryption method is explained in a language that is easily understood in a new book called “Geeks On Call Wireless Networking: 5-Minute Fixes” (Wiley, $ 14.95). This book also offers expert advice and step-by-step explanations of topics ranging from configuring a wireless router to troubleshooting slow connections.
Here are some additional tips from the book that can help you protect your wireless network.
-> Reduce your network coverage. Doing so can keep nosy neighbors from interfering with your connection. Move your wireless router to the center of your home and reduce the power settings.
-> Choose a new password. Most routers have a default password “admin.” Make sure to change it.
-> Disable SSID broadcast. Most wireless routers broadcast user network names (SSID) so other users can log in. This can be a security risk.
-> Use encryption to protect the credit card information that you send wirelessly via the Web. Also, only use your card on websites that have SSL encryption (look for the padlock in the corner of the site).
-> Disable your wireless card when not in use. There is no better way to secure your computer.
-> Use a firewall, which is a program that protects your computer from internet criminals.
-> Don’t use shared files. Delete all important documents from your Shared Files folder before accessing the public network.
-> If you are using a wireless laptop, disable the feature that tries to connect your laptop to an available wireless network. For most Windows-based laptops, double-click the wireless icon in the lower-right corner of Windows. Then click “Properties.” Click the “Wireless Network” tab. Next, click the “Advanced” button. Uncheck the “Automatically Connect to Unwanted Networks” option. Finally, click “Close.”