How should I secure my wireless network?
If you set up a wireless network, it is very important that you use all of the security capabilities of the devices. These include:
Use the strong (128/256 bit) WEP encryption built into the devices. Encryption is a process that encodes, or scrambles, the data being transmitted. The data can only be decoded by a device that has the key. The key is actually a code that is shared by the devices communicated to one another. With the right tools, the key can be broken, and therefore it is more secure to use a longer key, as it takes much longer to decode. Some products only support 64 bit encryption, but USRobotics wireless devices support 64, 128, and 256 bit encryption (only our 22 Mbps Wireless Access products support 256 bit encryption). Use WEP encryption for authentication AND to secure the data being transmitted. This can reduce network throughput by 10-15% (for 64 bit) or 15-25% (for 128 bit). This is not bullet-proof protection, but it requires significant effort to break. Someone would have to eavesdrop on a LOT of your network traffic in order to effectively crack this encryption.
Secure your Router/Access Point. Make sure that you require a password for configuration of the router or access point. In addition, make sure you change the default password, as these are well-known. You should physically secure your Access Point if possible, to prevent someone from performing a "hard reset" and setting the passwords back to their defaults.
If possible, disallow remote configuration. This requires you to plug directly into the Access Point/Router in order to configure it. The USRobotics Broadband Router and Wireless Router support this feature (not our Access Point).
Use MAC address-based association and access control. The MAC address is a unique identifier in a device, and by limiting access to certain MAC addresses, you can help lock out intruding computers. This can be done on our wireless router and our broadband router.
Use NetBEUI instead of TCP/IP for file and printer sharing. If someone gets access to your network, they won't be able to access your files, just your internet connection.
Only share what you need to. (share folders and files, not entire hard drives).
Secure your sensitive files with a strong password. Your password should contain non-alpha numeric characters like: !@#$%^&*). Many people use the name of their spouse or pet, but these words can be guessed easily. You should avoid using a plain "dictionary" word, since a "brute force" attempt will try to access your system by trying every dictionary word known.