As the number of wireless devices that are in people’s home increase, the number of households with wireless connections has grown as well. Along with computers, smart phones and tablets, many people also have Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles and even some high-tech refrigerators that can connect to the Internet wirelessly. However, while most people have figured out how to get these devices to connect to their wireless network, many are not aware of the dangers of failing to properly protect their wireless network when gaming.
There are a number of possible consequences of failing to secure a wireless network. In addition to the fact that someone’s Internet connection may be slowed down by other individuals hogging their bandwidth, there also exists the possibility of damage to network devices and, in some cases, identity theft. The good news is that with some basic settings adjustments, people can secure their computers, network and personal information.
When someone connects their computer or another device to their home network, information transferred to and from it can become available to other devices on the network. If people outside of someone’s friends and family are on their network, they may be able to access this data and either hack someone’s computers or get personal information like credit card numbers, email passwords and bank account information. To prevent this from happening, people should secure their network and ensure that they are choosing the most up-to-date security options possible.
Wireless routers, which people use to connect more than one device to the Internet, enable people to put security protections on their network. Depending on the type of device, this may include firewalls, port scanning and other security measures, but all wireless routers enable people to encrypt their network with a passphrase. A passphrase is simply a password that is put into a wireless device that enables it to connect to a secured network. Without this password, devices are denied access to the Internet and other data transferred across the network. However, there are some passphrases that have relatively low encryption strength and are fairly easy for some unscrupulous people to get past.
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) in particular is a fairly unsecure type of encryption. WEP uses keys that have to be exactly 10 characters and can only contain 0-9 and the letters a through f. This makes for a fairly easy password to crack. On the other hand, Wi-Fi Protected Access WPA and WPA-II enable people to use all alphanumeric characters along with symbols, and passphrases can be between eight and 64 characters. That makes a passphrase far more difficult to crack and a much more secure network.
In addition to ensuring that they have solid security in place to keep people out of their networks, individuals can also take advantage of software and hardware protections that will help keep them safe from denial of service (DOS) attacks, hackers and other network vulnerabilities. Many more advanced routers and switches have built-in firewalls and firmware that keep out intruders, and software suites are available to help people monitor their network connections and keep track of who is using their network and when.