In today’s world there are many devices that have wireless (or Wi-Fi) built in to them, such as laptops, mobile phones, PDA’s and some iPods. This makes it vital that you have your home wireless network secured. . I commonly get asked “Is wireless secure? Will somebody be able to pull up outside my house and connect to be internet?” The answer to these questions are – yes wireless is secure as long as wireless security is set on your wireless router. Even the most basic of wireless security will be enough to deter the average person connecting to your wireless network. Don’t forget that wireless security not only stops un-authorised people from connecting to your wireless network but it also encrypts the data as it goes to and from your wireless router and computer; this could be information you are surfing on the internet or files copied from one computer to another. In order to secure your wireless router you must log in to it and program it with what’s called a Wireless Encryption Key. There are three main types of wireless security:
WEP: This comes in two main forms 64 Bit and 128 Bit, 128 bit gives you added security over 64 bit. This is an old type of wireless security and I would only really use it now if people have older devices that need to be connected to the network. This type of wireless security is not so secure as other types as it is so say now crackable. However just having wireless security is much better than having no wireless security at all, and unless you were specifically being targeted most people trying to connect to wireless networks un-authorised will just move on to someone else’s wireless network which has no security at all.
WPA: This type of wireless is more secure than WEP and is one of the most commonly used types of wireless security. It is different to WEP in that is uses a Pre-Shared Key which can be any work of your choice, where as WEP uses a complicated code. This shared secret can technically be between 8 and 63 characters and can include special characters and spaces. The WPA pre-shared key should be a random sequence of either keyboard characters (upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation) at least 20 characters long or hexadecimal digits (numbers 0-9 and letters A-F) at least 24 hexadecimal digits long. The more random your WPA pre-shared key, the safer it is to use.
WPA2: Very much the same as WPA just a newer type with added security. I only tend to use this type of encryption if the customer has relatively new equipment as I have come across many devices that won’t support this type of encryption. Many older wireless routers will not give you the option of using this type of security.