Friday, March 30, 2012

Unsecure Networks

So you have a wireless network at your home.. you don't need to be 'plugged' in to actually get onto the internet with your laptop, e-reader or tablet.  But can others access your wireless system? Maybe your neighbors, or their kids? Well, it does put your own information at risk when your wireless router doesn't have a password.  It also could set you up for some nasty legal entanglements if the person using your wireless was (unbeknownst to you) downloading pirated media, like a recent case in Massachusetts

So, you need to be sure your system is secure.  If you had to enter a code to link up your computer to the wireless, you are probably all set.  Let's see if we can walk you through some of these issues. 

The easiest thing would be to have the instructions from your wireless router. It would eliminate some of the 'guesswork' as each system can be a little unique. If the answer is no, we can head down to the next step. 

Find the wireless router brand.  It might be Netgear, Linksys, D-link or some other name. We will stick with the more popular versions.

Next, on a computer that is connected to the router with a network cable you will need to use your web browser to access the router management system. Use these web addresses to access your wireless system. 


A box will open asking you for a username and password. If you haven't done this before, try the following:  "Admin" as your user name and leave the password blank or "admin" in the Username field, type "password" in the Password field and click "OK."

I highly encourage you to change the password. It does no good to secure your wireless when someone can log in and change your settings or worse, lock you out of your own network!

You want to setup your wireless with a strong security (128-bit encryption or higher ) and I suggest WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2. Older systems may have WEP but this security is no longer strong and can be hacked within minutes. It you don't have the WPA option, you might want to go and upgrade your wireless router.

Other options might be to enable MAC Address filtering on your route which restricts the computers that access your system. You can also turn off being able to modify the administration wirelessly (meaning you will have to be connected by wire to the router to make changes in the future.)

Of course, each screen may be different so it would be difficult to walk you through each step but I can give you some other resources.

Some additional video instructions can be found at  

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