Wi-Fi Security Tips & Tricks

Learn how you can secure your Wi-Fi Network. Prevent intruders from easily compromising your Wi-Fi network.

There can be many ways to prevent attacks. One way is to make sure you have encryption enabled and use a strong WPA2 with a sophisticated password with both small letters, capital letters and characters. Make sure you disable WPS Wifi Protected Setup features since the feature has been prone to multiple vulnerabilities. Another good way is to lower your signal strength so it is only covering your premises.

This can prevent an intruder sitting outside in a car lot to get a good signal

Wi-fi networks are getting more and more widespread. Nowadays, it is possible to find wi-fi networks anywhere. It is therefore of utmost importance for users to focus their attention on the growing threat of hackers and crackers; these online outlaws must be taken very seriously

5 Tips For Better Wifi At Home

More and more of us have wireless networks at home to connect not only computers, but smartphones, game consoles, TVs, even picture frames and DVD players. While setting up a wifi network at home has gotten pretty easy, there are still a few things that can make the difference between having a good network at home and a great network at home. Here are my five favorite tips for tuning your home wifi network so you can get more out of it.

Be Familiar With Control Panel

Learn the control panel. I know it’s seems a little much, especially as more and more devices are essentially plug-and-play, but knowing where the security settings are, how to set the channels, change frequencies, and switch settings around, comes in very, very handy.

Where To Place Your Router

Router placement. Okay wireless routers aren’t at the height of home decor, but they aren’t ugly so don’t hide them in some dark corner of the house! Try to put your router in the thick of things. Essentially, place your router in a central location where you use your computers.

Any Signal Interference?

Check the interference. This is a little geekier, but basically if you have a lot of wifi networks around you, your router and devices might have a hard time “hearing” each other in the din. One solution is to use a tool like NetStumbler (PC) or iStumbler (Mac) to see how many networks are around and what channels they are using at set your router to use a channel that is either not in use or use a channel from the weakest signal around.

This works great except for one little detail: lots of routers can auto-adjust the broadcast channel they use to adapt to interference. Right, which means that if you set your router to use channel 5 one day (ostensibly because it’s a clear and open channel), it might not be the next. So my advice is if your router has automatic channel switching available—use it.

802.11n

A lot of phones and monitors operate in the 2.4GHz band which is also the same band that 802.11g operates in. Some phones also work in the 802.11n 5GHz band too, but those seem to be able to manage keeping out of the way (I think it’s because of the way 802.11n antennas work). So, if you’re having issues with your 802.11g router, it could be your phone or a neighbor’s phone. Honestly it might be time to pick up a new 802.11n router on sale this Holiday season. Often that’s easier than trying to great 802.11g routers and cordless phones to play nice with each other.

Increase Performance Of Your Router

Turn off unneeded bands. This is a cool trick that let’s you get a lot more performance out of your router, don’t make it use and transmit what it doesn’t need to! Let’s say you have a router than uses 802.11n (or an “N router”) and all the devices in your house can also connect using 802.11n (most newer laptops, game systems, and a lot of phones can), then you don’t need to broadcast 802.11g. Letting the router focus on a single band and protocol gives it an efficiency edge and it won’t have to (potentially) spread signal across several different frequencies.

Turn On Router Encryption

Turn on encryption. The last thing isn’t a “trick” but something that you should be doing anyway—turn on your router’s security to require a passcode to connect. Yes, turning on encryption (and use WPA or WPA2 and not WEP) does add some overhead to the signal that can degrade performance, however so can someone leeching off your network downloading tons of stuff. Putting on security means you know who is connecting to your network and keeps the bandwidth for you. Sharing is great for cookies, not so much for your Internet bandwidth.

Are there more than 5 tips for improving wireless networks? Of course there are. Things like:

Keeping your router’s firmware updated

Looking for tips on settings for your particular router for how to get the most out of it
Using high-gain antennas for better reception

In reality though, starting with these 5 points is a great place to start at keeping your router running as fast as possible.

How to Fix Your Wi-Fi Network

Wireless Internet networks afford us the luxury of browsing the Web cable-free, but a connection that relies on radio waves is subject to failure due to interference, signal range limits, hardware problems, and operator error. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to the most common Wi-Fi troubles and how to fix them.

If you’re struggling with your Wi-Fi network at home or in the office, read on to discover a few different ways to troubleshoot your Wi-Fi woes and restore your wireless network.

Check Your Laptop for a Wi-Fi Button or Switch

Having trouble connecting to Wi-Fi in your favorite coffee shop or airport lounge? The problem might be right under your fingertips. If your laptop or netbook isn’t connecting to a local wireless router at all and you can’t view a list of nearby wireless networks, check to see if your laptop has a Wi-Fi button or switch that you may have pressed accidently. Many laptops include a function button (labeled with an icon representing a wireless router or network) on the top of the keyboard, or a switch on the front or sides of the laptop. If you find such a button, check to see whether pressing it enables you to get connected.

Reboot Your Computer and Your Wireless Router

If you still can’t connect a computer or device, reboot it. This step sounds simple, but your router, your PC’s Wi-Fi adapter, or your operating system may have a software or firmware problem that a simple reboot would fix. If some or all of your devices refuse to connect, try unplugging the router for 5 to 10 seconds and then plugging it back in. This technique of “power cycling” your router is a tried-and-true method for restoring a previously functional wireless network to good working order.

Change the Wi-Fi Channel on the Router

Most Wi-Fi routers and devices use the 2.4GHz radio band, which has 11 channels in the United States. Unfortunately, only 3 of the 11 channels can run simultaneously without overlapping or interfering with each other: channels 1, 6, and 11. Worse, many routers are set to broadcast on channel 6 by default. Consequently, interference from other routers in the vicinity is a common source of connectivity problems, especially in densely populated areas such as apartment complexes and shopping centers. Other radios that use the 2.4GHz band–for example, baby monitors and cordless phones–and other electrical devices (such as microwave ovens) can interfere with Wi-Fi signals, too.

To see if other wireless routers might be interfering, take a look at the list of nearby wireless networks. If you’re using Windows, click the network icon in the lower right corner. If you see other network names, especially those with more than one bar of signal, they could be interfering with your signal.

You can try to dodge interference by changing your router to another channel. You can blindly choose a channel (going with 1 or 11 is probably your best bet) or you can make a better-educated selection by checking to see which channels nearby networks are using so you can use a different channel. You can check with a free program like InSSIDer or Vistumbler, or use the Web-based Meraki WiFi Stumbler. If you don’t have access to one of these applications on your laptop, you can use a free app like Wifi Analyzer (on Android devices) or Wi-Fi Finder (on Apple iOS devices) on your smartphone or tablet to scan for Wi-Fi networks.

Once you’ve decided on a channel to switch to, you’ll need to log in to your router’s control panel and change the channel. To access the router’s Web-based control panel, open a new window in your browser while you’re connected to your router’s wireless network and then type in its IP address (most commonly 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1).

Log in page for a D-Link router

If you don’t know your router’s IP address, refer to the wireless connection details: In the lower-right corner of your Windows desktop, right-click the network icon and open the Network and Sharing Center. Select the wireless network that you wish to view, and click the Details button. You should now see the router’s IP address listed as the Default Gateway.

Next, log in to your router control panel with the appropriate username and password. If you don’t know the password, you may never have changed it–so try the default password, which you can look up on RouterPasswords.com. If your Internet service provider supplied your router, you may have to call your ISP for help in accessing the password.

Wireless settings on a D-Link router

After logging in to the router, find the wireless settings and change the channel. Many routers have an automatic channel selection feature; if yours does, you can disable it and manually choose a channel. Again, for maximum performance, try to stick with channel 1 or 11. Once you’ve saved and applied the settings, your router may reboot; if so, reconnect and then check to see whether your connectivity problem persists. If so, you may need to try another channel.

Check and Reposition the Wireless Router

If the connection difficulty seems to arise only when you’re rather far away from your wireless router, the problem could be that you’re on the fringe of the router’s coverage zone. The simple way to fix this is to buy a router with better range, but you can take some other steps before going to the trouble (and expense) of buying a new router. First, make sure that your router’s antennas are securely attached and are positioned upright. Next, confirm that the router isn’t buried or blocked behind large objects that might cause the signal to degrade faster than it normally would. For best results, place your router out in the open so the signal can travel freely.

For best results, try moving your wireless router to the center of the room, with a clear line of sight to each of your wireless devices.

If you still aren’t getting the Wi-Fi range you’d like, consider moving the router and the modem to a more central location within your desired coverage area. Of course, your placement options are limited: The router must be near another cable or telephone jack. Most cable modems can plug into any cable outlet, and DSL modems usually plug into other telephone jacks–but remember to switch out any filters that might be attached.

Restore the Router’s Settings to the Factory Defaults

If you continue to have trouble getting various computers and devices to connect to your router, you can try restoring the router’s settings to their factory default values. Unfortunately, this wipes out all of the settings, so you’ll have to secure your home or office Wi-Fi again, and you may have to reconfigure your Internet connection settings. When you’re ready to restore the router, find the small reset button or hole on the router’s back, and use a pen or paperclip to press and hold the button for at least 10 seconds.

Reinstall the Wireless Adapter Driver or Software

If after completely resetting the router, you find that connection problems involving a single PC on your Wi-Fi network still haven’t gone away, consider reinstalling the driver and/or software for the Wi-Fi adapter on that PC. The first step in this process is to download the latest network adapter driver or software from your computer manufacturer’s website (or from the site of the adapter’s manufacturer, if you purchased the adapter separately). From there, carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions for reinstalling the software on your adapater. Reboot your PC afterward, and you should be good to go.

Upgrade the Router Firmware

If connection problems survive the reinstallation of your network adapter drivers, ityour router may sufer from a technical issue. Router vendors typically release firmware updates for their routers to fix known issues and sometimes even to add new features.

Most modern routers let you upgrade their firmware directly from the router control panel.

To see if there’s a new firmware release for your router, first log into its web-based control panel (see the section above for help) and check which firmware version you have installed, usually shown on a system or status page. Next, navigate to the website of the router’s manufacturer and check the support/downloads section for the newest firmware release for your particular model. Chances are you don’t have the latest version; if so, download the latest firmware and follow the instructions on how to update it.

If that doesn’t fix your problem, you could also try seeking out. open-source router firmware and experimenting with using it to improve your Wi-Fi network. For more details on that process, check out our guide to enhancing your router with open-source software. If you try all these different solutions and your Wi-Fi network is still having problems, it may be time to invest in some new networking hardware (or just head on down to Starbuck’s and borrow theirs.)

Public WiFi Security Tips And Tricks

In a recent survey, 70% of tablet owners and 53% of smartphone / mobile phone owners stated that they use public Wi-Fi hotspots.  However, because data sent through public Wi-Fi can easily be intercepted, many mobile device and laptop users are risking the security of their personal information, digital identity, and money. Furthermore, if their device or computer is not protected by an effective security and anti-malware product… the risks are even greater.

Wireless Security tips – to help keep you safe on public Wi-Fi

With coffee shops, hotels, shopping malls, airports, and many other locations offering their customers free access to public Wi-Fi, it’s a convenient way to check your emails, catch up on social networking, or surf the web when you’re out and about.  However, cybercriminals will often spy on public Wi-Fi networks and intercept data that is transferred across the link.   In this way, the criminal can access users’ banking credentials, account passwords, and other valuable information.

Here are some useful tips from Kaspersky Lab’s team of Internet security experts:

Be aware – Public Wi-Fi is inherently insecure – so be cautious.

Remember – any device could be at risk. Laptops,smartphones>, and tablets are all susceptible to the wireless security risks.

Treat all Wi-Fi links with suspicion – Don’t just assume that the Wi-Fi link is legitimate. It could be a bogus link that has been set up by a cybercriminal that’s trying to capture valuable, personal information from unsuspecting users. Question everything – and don’t connect to an unknown or unrecognized wireless access point.

Try to verify it’s a legitimate wireless connection – Some bogus links – that have been set up by malicious users – will have a connection name that’s deliberately similar to the coffee shop, hotel, or venue that’s offering free Wi-Fi. If you can speak with an employee at the location that’s providing the public Wi-Fi connection, ask for information about their legitimate Wi-Fi access point – such as the connection’s name and IP address.

Use a VPN (virtual private network) – By using a VPN when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you’ll effectively be using a ‘private tunnel’ that encrypts all of your data that passes through the network. This can help to prevent cyber criminals – that are lurking on the network – from intercepting your data.

Avoid using specific types of website – It’s a good idea to avoid logging into websites where there’s a chance that cyber criminals could capture your identity, passwords, or personal information – such as social networking sites, online banking services, or any websites that store your credit card information.

Consider using your cell phone – If you need to access any websites that store or require the input of any sensitive information – including social networking, online shopping, and online banking sites – it may be worthwhile accessing them via your cell phone network, instead of the public Wi-Fi connection.

Protect your device against cyber attacks – Make sure all of your devices are protected by a rigorous anti-malware and security solution – and ensure that it’s updated as regularly as possible.