How to Secure Your Wireless System and Devices

Wireless network connectivity is very convenient to use and enables you to work anywhere in the office and in many other places such as airports and hotels, but there are risks that you rarely find with wired connections.

All of your communication is visible to those around you using freely available software. This means that it is critical that you set up your wireless system securely and are smart about how and where you connect your devices outside of the office.

Tips on securing the wireless router

  • Make sure the password to access the settings on your router is strong.
  • Change the SSID name of your router to something that means something to you but would not identify you to outside people.
  • Turn on at least WPA2 encryption. WEP and WPA encryption are not secure!
  • Filter MAC addresses. This can be bypassed but will keep the lower level hackers out.
  • Keep your router’s firmware up to date.

Securing your access devices

  • Any device you use to connect wirelessly to the internet should be set up to access it securely, including: laptops, cell phones, tablets and even some appliances like refrigerators.
  • Only connect to systems that support at least WPA2 encryption and use a password to access.
  • Verify that the system you are connecting to is legitimate. Hackers will name a system something close to the real vendor like Mariiott instead of Marriott to fool you into connecting to their router where they can see all of your communication.
  • Use a VPN to double encrypt your communication.
  • Make sure that any system you access provides secure communication such as HTTPS for websites.
  • Keep your device up to date with vendor security patches.

You can find more information in the Federal Trade Commission’s Securing Your Wireless Network article.