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Security and Privacy

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Wi-Fi Network Security

Wi-Fi networks make it easy for you to access the Internet from anywhere in your home wirelessly. They are easy to set up but also easy for outsiders to access if the proper security precautions are not taken. This can lead to fraudsters accessing your home network or piggy backing on your Internet connection and slowing it down. To help ensure the security of your home Wi-Fi network, you can take a few simple steps outlined below. For security and technical information specific to your router, please see your owner's manual or go the manufacturer's Web site.

Secure your Access Point

Your network is controlled by an access point that allows the wireless connection to happen. To prevent fraudsters from accessing and making changes, you need to control who can "administer" it. This can be done during configuration using the following steps:

  • Change the default administrator login and password (they are widely known) to only something you know.
  • If possible, disable wireless administrative access and require a physical network connection (e.g. Ethernet cable). If it needs to be wireless, require it to be "https" as opposed to "http" access.

Preventing Access

Using encryption and password protection can greatly increase the security of your home network. It not only prevents unauthorized people from using it but also helps protect the information being transmitted between your device and the access point. These are a few best practices to follow.

  • Enable strong security on your Wi-Fi access point. The best option is to use security mechanism "WPA2" with the "AES" only encryption method. Using other options like WEP, TKIP or TKIP+AES encryption, or none is not recommended.
  • Choose a password that is different from your administrator password and at least 20 characters long. You will only have to enter it once into the device and then it will remember it, so the length will not hinder your ability to access the Internet.
  • Disable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). While it is designed to help make it easy to securely set up your network, vulnerabilities have been found that could allow a fraudster access.

Internet Precautions

When you type a word into your browser, the "DNS server" tells the browser where it can access the information or Web site you are looking for. A server called "OpenDNS" goes a step further and helps ensure that you connect only to safe Web sites and allows you to filter the content you receive (e.g. block sites you may not want the kids to see). It is recommended that you configure your Wi-Fi connection to use OpenDNS.

More Helpful Computer Tips

Following these simple steps when setting up your home Wi-Fi network is a great step in protecting your personal information. To learn more about how you can protect your computer, read our security tips on Browser SecurityComputer Safety and Malware.

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