Saturday, December 11, 2010

TIPS - How to Setup your wireless router security

Wireless Internet are so common today that many will setup their own wireless network at home. But, how secure is your wireless network? Wireless router or access point must be properly set. The followings are some items you indefinitely should check.

SSID – By default, many routers have the SSID the brand name or model number of the router. Change it to give no hint of neither the brand nor the model. For example, “home-wifi”. Some attacks are targeting certain weaknesses of a particular brand or model of router.

Hide or Show the SSID – hiding your SSID gives you another layer of protection as the presence of your wireless network is not obvious. However, users will find it not so convenient to use. Broadcasting your SSID is fine as long as the wireless security settings are correct.

Encryption – a must! Do not use WEP, which is very easy to break. If possible use WPA2 with TKIP or AES (probably called WPA2 Personal on your router), or WPA if WPA2 is not available. The share key or “password” should be strong enough, e.g. 12 characters or more with combination of upper and lower case and numbers. Avoid using dictionary words.

Firmware – every router or access point will have its firmware, a piece of software burned on the hardware to make it runs. Like any other software, firmware can have bugs and so security loopholes. Download the latest firmware of your router or access point, and apply to your device. Check the user guide or visit the router's website for details of how to upgrade the firmware.

MAC filtering (optional) – it seems to be useful; however, in real life I find it very troublesome to set as I have different wireless devices from time to time. Just leave it disabled!

Remote Management – if you will use the remote management function of your router, remember to set a strong password. If possible, use “https” access, which makes your settings invisible to others when you're setting them remotely.

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