Tips: Safely Using Wireless Networks

CPP offers nine tips for safely using wireless networks.

  1. Use encryption on your wireless access points (WAP) -- Make sure you have Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) -- the latest security standard introduced by global, non-profit industry association, the Wi-Fi Alliance.
  2. By implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) you can create a secure wireless network.  This is achieved by encrypting all of the data that passes over the 'insecure' network so that it cannot be accessed by an eavesdropper.
  3. Install a firewall on any network you use (an electronic barrier that sits on a network server and protects the PCs hidden behind).
  4. All wireless routers should have obscure IDs. Rather than put in any real information that can make it clear who owns the connection or that can reveal your location or business name, use something common like "wireless" or "router 1" that doesn't give away anything critical.
  5. Try to position access points, which transfer data between your devices, away from the outside wall of your building to minimize leakage of radio signals. This limits the chances of interception from outside.
  6. If you run a business, don't allow employees to add access points without your authorization.
  7. Be aware of what information you are accessing online, specifically when using public hotspots. Remember that any information you submit, including usernames and passwords, can be read by others.
  8. Make sure you check your bank statements regularly to monitor for suspicious transactions.
  9. Remember the Golden Rule: Identity thieves are experts at spotting an opportunity to steal your identity and only need a few personal details.
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