How To: Avoid Getting Your Wireless Network Hacked

How To: Avoid Getting Your Wireless Network Hacked

Anthony Nguyen
Jul 10, 2009

After this very real and eye-opening Lifehacker article about WEP hacking (and how painlessly easy it can be for someone to hack into your wireless network with just a few simple steps), we felt it was only logical to outline a step-by-step protection plan to keep your network as guarded as possible from those meddling kids...

Keeping in mind that if you're using WEP as your main means of wireless password protection right now because - and we love how Maribel phrased it here - a WEP key is to a home bathroom lock, the one you can open just using a bent paperclip.

So, if you're setting up your wireless network (especially in a apartment complex or densely populated area), make sure you:

  • Use WPA2 network password encryption whenever possible: WEP is child's play. WPA is still crackable, but a bit more difficult. WPA2 should keep those hackers at bay unless you're housing vital information for a billion dollar case.
  • Update your router to the latest firmware: Updates tend to emphasize more security and added features to keep those baddies out. Especially if your router only currently supports WEP, a firmware update may add on that WPA2 at no extra cost.

Say a hacker does slip in. Take these measures to avoid bigger headaches down the road:

  • Password your network shares: You don't want them sniffing through your stuff. Password protect folders that you're sharing over the network for an extra layer of added, easy protection.
  • Play it safe with monthly antivirus and spyware checks: Chances are network hackers are looking to put something icky to steal your information. If you're on wireless, make it a habit to do monthly checks to ensure your computer is running malware free.
  • Backup data: If they're just there for trouble, they're looking to destroy your system. Backups are important since hard drives die anyway, so have a solution ready in case the worst happens to well... happen.

Know a good way to deter the digi-pirates from hijacking your wireless network? Let us and other readers know in the comments below!

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