How To Maximize Security of The Best Wireless Router

With basic security configuration, even the best wireless router can be accessed by other computers and crackers in the vicinity... meaning our information can be intercepted or our network accessed.

However, there are a couple of steps we can take to maximize the security of our router to protect our network and PCs from intrusion...

  1. Buy A Router With Secure Wireless Encryption
  2. Configuring Router Security Settings
  3. Supporting Articles

1. Secure Wireless Encryption

Wireless devices use encryption to protect the data that we are transmitting.

The most important step in choosing the best wireless router is to find out what type of encryption our potential router uses.

If we do not use encryption, then our information is unprotected. In other words, our information can be captured by intruders. This is particularly important if we use our wireless connection to carry out financial business, such as online banking.

There are, essentially, two types of wireless encryption...

  1. WEP (Wired Equivalency Protocol).
    WEP aims to provide security by encrypting data over radio waves, so that it is protected as it is transmitted from one end point to another. A shared key, similar to a password, is used to allow communication between the computers and the router.

    WEP offers a basic level of security for wireless data transmission. Unfortunately, WEP's cryptography can easily be broken by the tools that crackers have developed, leaving our computers open to entry. So, look for WPA encryption, which is used by the best wireless firewalls.

  2. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access).
    WPA is a security protocol for wireless networks that builds on the basic foundations of WEP.

    It secures wireless data transmission by using a key similar to WEP, but the WPA key changes dynamically using Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) for encryption. This changing key makes it much more difficult for a cracker to crack the key and gain access to the network. So, WPA provides optimal security for homes and business.

    Some government departments make WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) a requirement. WPA2 is the second generation of WPA security and provides a stronger encryption mechanism through Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). This encryption is not yet a standard, but may be found on the best wireless router firewalls.

This is the only security information we need to look for on a prospective product, prior to our decision to purchase. But here are some security tips for when we choose our best wireless router and install it...

2. Configuring Security

Once we have our best wireless router installed, we need to implement other basic security controls before we start using the firewall and transmitting data...

  1. Password protect access to the router's configuration.
    Change the default login that comes with the router to a unique password. A cracker who has the manufacturer's default login can gain access to the firewall settings and grant him/herself access.
  2. Change the Default Service Set Identifier (SSID).
    The SSID is the name of the Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

    Wireless router firewalls on the network use their SSIDs to communicate with each other. However, routers are shipped with a standard default SSID... for example, the default SSID for Linksys routers is "Linksys"!

    Now, a cracker armed with the manufacturer's default SSIDs can gain access to our network, unless we change the default name. Once changed, it puts another obstacle in the way of the cracker's attempts to penetrate our defenses.

  3. Disable SSID broadcast.
    Wireless computers have software to search automatically for SSIDs in the vicinity and to display to us their name and available access.

    So, to prevent the network name being discovered and someone attempting to access it, just disable SSID broadcast on the router's configurable software. Our network now becomes invisible to intruders scanning for unprotected networks.

  4. Enable MAC address filtering.
    The MAC (Media Access Control)address is a unique series of numbers and letters assigned to every networking device.

    With MAC address filtering enabled, wireless network access is provided only for wireless devices with specific MAC addresses. So, for example, you can specify only the computers in your house to access your wireless network. This will make it difficult for a cracker to access your network using a random MAC address.


3. Supporting Articles

  1. Free And Buy Firewalls Reviewed. Imagine what it would feel like to connect to the Internet and know you are fully protected from intruders. Well, it's within your grasp!
  2. Free Or Buy Firewalls? The Pros And Cons. There are three "types" of firewall to choose from. We can buy firewalls -- software and hardware -- or we can use a free firewall download. But which type is best for our computer?
  3. Choosing The Best Wireless Router Speed. When choosing the best wireless router, some of the speed terms and claims made by marketers can be confusing. Here, they are explained.
  4. What Are The Effects Of Computer Hacking?. Explains how malicious hackers target our PCs, what the effects are and how we can protect ourselves.
  5. Is XP Firewall Safe?. The Windows firewall has a number of flaws. If you're using it, read this!

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