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Wireless Network Security Tips

Action Description
Enable WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy) Even though WEP uses weak encryption and is breakable, it still provides an effective first measure of defense by encrypting the traffic between your wireless card and access point. Make sure you use the largest WEP key size that your equipment supports.
Change your SSID to something non-descriptive You do not want to give out your name, address, or any other useful information to potential hackers. Also, using the default SSID is a bad idea. A good example would be anything non-descriptive like "flower" or "network" and a bad example would be "235 Elm St." or "Johnson Family".

Change the default password(s) on your access points.

The default passwords of most network equipment are well known and could allow an intruder to gain access to your access point(s).
Disable Broadcast SSID

If your access point supports "closed system" or allows you to "disable broadcast SSID," use this feature. This will make your network essentially invisible to the scanning methods we and almost all others use. Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not support this feature.

Update the firmware and drivers on your access point and wireless cards It is always wise to use the latest latest firmware and drivers on your access points and wireless cards. Manufacturers commonly fix known issues, security holes, and enable new features with these updates.
Enable MAC based filtering Using this feature, only your unique wireless cards can communicate with your access point.
Turn off your access points when you are not using them If you are not using your wireless network, why risk being scanned or being broken into.
Wave point placement and antenna selection

Try to locate your access points towards the center of your house or building. This will minimize the signal leak outside of its intended range. If you are using external antennas, selecting the right type of antenna can be helpful in minimizing signal leak.

The examples above cover some simple things you can do to increase security, but they only constitute a small piece of a true security model. For more information on advanced security methods, please refer to our Links page.


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Information & Telecommunications Technology Center
Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program