Four Tips to Secure Your Network Against Data Theft

From firewalls to password protection, here are some quick and easy tips to make your wireless network secure.

Wireless networks can be easy pickings for data thieves. Without proper protections in place, these miscreants can get into your network and search through its data as if you’d left the door to your house wide open.

Bolt it all down with a strong security strategy. As with physical security controls, applying a number of tactics together tends to work best for thwarting thieves.

No security plan is completely bulletproof, but here are some top tips for making your wireless network as strong and secure as possible.

Change default passwords and user names. To help users set up their new wireless routers, manufacturers include a temporary user name and password that can be entered on the manufacturer website for registration. Change these settings as soon as you use them, because they’re well known to data thieves.

Turn on encryption. All wireless network equipment supports some type of encryption technology, which is used to scramble messages sent over the network. Several encryption options are available, but make sure you choose the most advanced type of security. During setup, your router will likely ask you what you want, and we recommend WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) since it’s the strongest. (Check out this handy video on wireless security for additional tips.)

Disable auto-connect to open networks. Most computers have a setting allowing you to connect to an available network without notifying you first. This can be useful for travel, when a laptop or other device can hop onto a public Wi-Fi spot quickly. However, it poses a security risk when done at home or in an office. Change the setting on your device to keep it from straying.

Enable firewalls on the router and computers. Today’s routers have built-in firewall capacity, which users have the option to disable. Be sure to confirm that your firewall is turned on and operating properly. For added security, consider installing firewall software on every computer that connects to the wireless network. This will provide an additional layer of protection, and also keep the computer’s data safe when using a public Wi-Fi network.

With these safeguards, you can be assured that your wireless network will be stronger and better protected from snoops and thieves.

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