Why Wireless Security Matters

December 17th, 2005

Computer Security

Paramount is suing Russell Lee for more than $100,000, alleging that he obtained an illegal copy of a movie and subsequently uploaded it to a filesharing network. In defense, Mr. Lee claims the real perpetrator hijacked his (then unsecured) wireless network. The evidence is weak, and while Mr. Lee will probably be exonerated he will still have to pay legal costs and deal with the stress of a court case. This just underscores why wireless security is so important.

If you have a wifi network, here are the basic things you should do to secure it:

  • Change the router’s default admin password.
  • Change the SSID and disable SSID broadcast.
  • Enable WPA2 security. If your wireless router does not support WPA2, then get a router that does. WEP security is easily cracked, and WPA, although better, is still vulnerable.
  • Use MAC filtering.

These steps will not keep out a determined expert hacker, but the goal is to make it difficult enough that he/she will hijack someone else’s network.

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