How to Protect Your Wifi and Prevent Identity Theft
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How to Protect Your Wifi and Prevent Identity Theft

A short, simple, and concise article on securing the basic user's home WiFi network. Includes choosing an encryption key and mac filtering along with basic introductory explanations of terms and methods used to secure a home WiFi network. Readers should be able to help deter identity theft by following the simple guidelines provided.

There's two types of people who use wireless networks. There are those who are happy to pay for their own internet service and expect privacy, and those who take advantage of people who fail to secure their wireless router properly. Most of us know nothing about networks and computers, but that won't stop someone who does from stealing your identity. Especially in highly populated areas such as apartment buildings or military barracks, its easy to find numerous free and unencrypted access points. To manage your wireless router open your internet browser and type (This is the default router management address for the vast majority of routers. Default username and passwords can be found by doing a google search or looking at your wireless routers manual.) Each router will have different layouts, but all will have roughly the same options. Reading this article will help you understand what options to use and what you need to know about them.

    It is imperitave to keep your network as secure as possible, especially when shopping online or doing taxes. This is because traffic passed from your computer to your router and vice versa can contain any of the personal information you've submitted. Unencrypted wireless traffic can be captured and used to steal your identity. Therefore it is imperative to properly secure and protect your WiFi.

A cracker will first use tools such as inssider, airodump-ng, or kismet to find weak wireless networks. Choosing to not broadcast your ssid is your first line of defense. (SSID stands for service set identifier, but in lamens terms it's simply the name of your WiFi.) Although a talented cracker won't have too much trouble, the larger majority of ameuters will. Not only should you hide your SSID, you should change the name of it as well. This can be done easily in your router preferences.

    If a cracker finds a wireless network, he will try to connect if it is unencrypted, or even worse, he or she may remain hidden and read the packets of traffic your computer sends and receives to and from the wireless router. This is primarily why you need to use a strong encryption. Many older WiFi networks and uninformed people use WEP (Wired Equivalant Privacy) but WEP keys are a joke, and can be cracked easily in under five minutes. The best encryption to use is WPA2-PSK or often just WPA (Wireless Protected Access) in conversation. Instead of a hexidecimal based set of numbers easily cracked by the most amauter of crackers, WPA-PSK prompts you to choose your own password, allowing you to decide how difficult the key will be to crack. To get the most protection out of your PSK (Pre-Shared Key) be sure to choose randomized passphrases using capitals, lowercase, numerals, and special characters. The longer and more complex the password, the harder it will be to crack. Using a strong WPA key is the best way to secure your network. Using a ridiculously long and complex password will force potential crackers and moochers to potentially spend years testing possible password combinations.

    The third way to protect your network and your bandwidth is to use MAC address filtering. Every wireless device has it's own unique MAC address used to associate itself to networks. Choosing to allow only devices you own to associate to your access point will protect your bandwidth. Although not foolproof, it will at best deter most wireless moochers. To view your MAC address, open your command prompt and type ipconfig /all. Your wireless MAC address will be the xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx series of numbers listed under the wireless adapter properties. Most modern routers will show the addresses of devices that have connected to your network. If you find an address other than yours on that list, its time to secure your network.

    To maximize your wireless security and protect valuable personal information be sure to use all three of these methods. Using just one of these methods will deter most moochers, but talented crackers won't be stopped. That is unless you use a strong encryption key.

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Comments (6)

Thanks for the tips.

Thanks for the tips, I am trying to enter a network myself for educational purposes, and those methods you mentioned surely deters a majority of amateurs.

Whenever I travel I am always very wary of these unprotected networks. Informative article.

Perfect instructions.

Wireless Fidelity or WiFi can be accessed by the people in the public who have devcies capable of connecting through wireless signals. It is important to put a password for you to protect from outside connections which could steal your information or identity. I really appreciate the information you have given to us, thank you for sharing and good luck! (LIKED and SHARED)

Thanks for the awesome post. This post is realy effective, the details are perfect like here keep posting man