Dos and Don'ts of Wi-Fi security

Although Wi-Fi is constantly evolving, some ideas about securing your network never seem to perish. Sure, a number of these advices might well have worked way back at the genesis of the Wi-Fi technology, whereas others were just simply wrong from the get-go. Either way, in order to truly protect your Wi-Fi network, here are several practices which you should have abandoned long ago, as well as those that are as effective today as they ever were:

A popular myth claims that hiding your SSID is a good tactic for protecting your network from cyber predators. Service Set Identifier (SSID for short) is a unique network name that every wireless router is equipped with. The router will broadcast its SSID info to other devices by default, so that every device within the router’s range can see the network and be aware of its presence. On the first glance, it does seem like a sound move not to broadcast your SSID, hence rendering your network invisible to others. However, some devices will still be able to see your network by default regardless, and unveiling your SSID is a pretty easy task for any hacker. But what is even worse is the fact that, by cloaking your device, you are essentially letting every privy hacker eyes know that you want to be kept alone, which in turn might tempt them to infiltrate your network more than your default settings might.

Also, people often say that the ‘smaller’ Wi-Fi networks are generally more difficult to infiltrate. What this means is that you should diminish the transmission power of your router in order to make it harder for people outside your home to penetrate the network, since the network itself is going to be less detectable. This is simply not going to work as a tactic against a hacker. If someone is determined to crack your Wi-Fi network, he will still usually pick up the signal from your router by using a large antenna, so reducing the power would most likely end up hurting legitimate users the most.

So exactly what is a viable method for network security? I have 3 words for you: encryption, encryption, encryption. Cyphering the data that is going to be travelling via your network is still one of the best ways to prevent network penetration. In fact, hackers might even still infiltrate the network itself, but they will be unable to decipher any of the info they see, not without your key. WEP, WPA and WPA2 are the most popular types of encryption, with the latter currently being the method of choice for most users.

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