Secure Your Wireless Network

If you use a wireless network in your home, take precautions to secure it against cybercriminals.

Encryption

Choose a wireless router with an encryption feature. Use the strongest encryption supported by your system. Wireless routers typically have encryption turned off as the default, so be sure to enable it. Tutorials for turning encryption on for the most popular router types are available at OnGuardOnline.gov.

Broadcasting

Disable your wireless router from broadcasting its Service Set Identifier (SSID), the feature that allows computers to detect available wireless networks. Disabling this feature improves the security of your wireless network and largely restricts the computers and people that can connect to it. You can still easily connect by typing in the name of the network.

Router Name and Password

The default name and administrator password for each type of router is public information and well known to hackers. When you first set up your router, change the name and password immediately.

Limit Access

Every wireless device has a unique identifier called a Media Access Control (MAC) address. Most wireless routers have a feature that limits access to only those devices with a MAC address in the list maintained on the router.

Public Wireless Access

Even if public wi-fi requires a password, that password is typically widely available. The American Bankers' Association advises against conducting online banking transactions over public wireless networks.

OnGuardOnline.gov provides additional information on the precautions listed above, as well as tutorials on how to make these changes for some of the more popular router brands:

OnGuardOnline.gov – Securing Your Wireless Network 

Additional Resources on Safeguarding Your Computer: 

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