Tag Archives: wifi

How Open WiFi Networks Can Compromise Your Security

These days nearly everywhere one can find a free or open WiFi network, it may seem like a great facility at first to be able to surf the net for free but after taking a closer look you may not be so eager to use the free internet.

There is always a catch with things are too good to be true and the same applies for free WiFi networks. Your security is greatly at risk in such environments.

One problem is that you don’t know who else is on the network with you, secondly you don’t know what the person’s motive is who created the free or open network in the first place.

Your files can easily be manipulated, stolen or damaged by the person who has created and allowed you access to the free WiFi network, and other people that maybe on the network with you can also quite easily spy on you and your activity while you’re connected.

How Can My Security Be Compromised??

Once you have connected to an open WiFi network, your device together with all the other computers on that network are in fact connected to a main computer (server) which has put the network out in the first place.

WiFi Security (image by Cloned Milkmen)
WiFi Security (image by Cloned Milkmen)

This main computer does have access to all the other computers that are using the network, all that is required for the main computer to see what you are up to on the network, is software such as Wireshark.

Wireshark allows one computer to access all data that is being transmitted to and from the connected device. The degree to which your information is secure and kept safe online is dependent on the site you’re browsing and how safe that site wishes to keep your information.

For example if you are surfing an unsecured site, any data which is transmitted between your computer and that site can be viewed by a third party with the use of softwares like Firesheep.

It would be a good idea to review which information of yours is shared and can be viewed by others, as not every site has the same security and some sites and networks don’t have much security at all.

How Easy Or Difficult Is It To Spy Me??

For a network administrator to get a piece of malware of possible PC spyware, on to your connected device isn’t a very complex or difficult task at all.

A problem seen in many networks is that people can be redirected. For example, you search on some site but end up at another, which is full of ads and is definitely not what you are looking for.

Open WiFi can be used to spy you

Even sites that you would consider credible, like Google or Yahoo, could in fact have ads on them which are links to spyware and clicking on them would get your computer infected with PC spyware automatically.

PC Pandora 7.0 is a prime example of software which, if on your computer, can do plenty of harm. It is a covert piece of code which lies hidden in your computer & is very difficult to trace.

This software can provide the installer with a lot of information from your computer, like screen shots and login credentials as it also acts a keystroke logger among its many other features. It’s a Spy’s paradise…

This software and its likes are the sort of things that can infect you through a public WiFi network, and these malwares still keep working even  when you have left the free WiFi environment.

About The Author: Natalia David contributes towards Computer monitoring software and keylogger technology. She provides tips, tricks and news about computer and internet security. You can also follow her on Twitter @NataliaDavid4.

Wireless Security Tips for WiFi Network

Wireless Security is a major concern these days, with terrorists using open WiFi networks to send bomb blast claims to the government, you could be in some serious trouble.

Although wireless networks are very beneficial, but wireless networking has many security issues. Crackers (loosely called hackers) have found it easier to break wireless WiFi networks. But this can be prevented by some pro Wireless Security Tips.

WiFi Security (image by Cloned Milkmen)
WiFi Security (image by Cloned Milkmen)

This article summarize the steps you should take to improve the wireless security of your home WiFi network.

  • Change Default Username & Password of your WiFi

    Most WiFi home networks have an access point or router. To set up these pieces of equipment, manufacturers provide web pages that allow owners to enter their network address and account information to boost wireless security.

    These Web tools are protected with a login screen (username and password) so that only the rightful owner can change this. However, for any given piece of equipment, the login credentials provided are simple and very well-known to hackers.

    change password

    Change these settings immediately to prevent your network from getting into the wrong hands & to level up your wireless security.

    Read How to change your Router’s Username and Password

  • Change the Default SSID (WiFi Network Name)

    SSID or Service Set Identifieris name of your wireless network. Most wireless routers have a predefined SSID like ‘default’ or the brand name of the router.

    Although changing it won’t directly improve your wireless security, but it will prevent hackers from directly knowing what type of router you are using and reduce the possibilities of an attack.

    Change SSID
    Change SSID

    Also, you might just change your SSID to Hacker Inside or Virus.exe to fend off amateur crackers.

    See our tutorial to Change the Default SSID (Wireless Name)

  • Disable SSID (Wireless Name) Broadcast

    By Default, WiFi routers broadcast the Wireless Network Name (SSID). This feature enables you to connect to set up your wireless network easily.

    But, after set up you don’t need this facility as your device will connect to your WiFi automatically. Thus, disabling it will prevent your network from being visible to the public and hence prevent unauthorized access to your network, +1 to your wireless security 😉

    Read How to Disable SSID (Wireless Name) Broadcast

  • Enable Wireless Encryption: best for Wireless Security

    All wireless routers have either WPA or WEP encryption to prevent unauthorized access to your network. WPA encryption is much secure than WEP encryption and hence is a preferred mode of encryption.

    If you find your router or your computer incompatible with WPA encryption then you should still apply WEP as something is better than nothing. A newer encryption, WPA 2 provides even stronger encryption than WPA but your hardware needs to support it.

    Learn More on How to Enable WPA WiFi Security for Windows

  • Filter Mac Address

    Every laptop, mobile or any other any wireless device has a unique address called MAC address or Media Access Control address. Most WiFi routers have a feature, which if enabled will allow only certain MAC addresses  to access the network.

    Thus you can restrict your router to only allow connections to your own devices. So only you authorized devices will be able to access your network!

    Check this out to know How to Filter MAC Address on your router

  • Decrease the Range of your WiFi

    Wi-Fi signals may leak out of your house and hence your network is detected by the neighboring receivers. To prevent this, you need to decrease the range of your WiFi router.

    This can be done by packing your router with an Aluminium Foil or placing the router in a box. You will have to experiment these things and then set it up according to your needs to minimize the leakage.

    You can add some holes to the box or aluminium foil wrapper if the range of your WiFi becomes way too less for even you to catch it effectively, it’s pure hit-n-trial 😉

  • Enable Firewall on your Computer and Router

    Firewall helps prevent unauthorized access to your wireless network.  Modern routers have inbuilt firewalls but many a times the firewall is turned off.

    Also set up firewall on each computer that connects to the network for added wireless security.

  • Turn off WiFi Router when not in use

    The simplest and the best good way for wireless security, is to turn it off when not in use. Such as when you go out for work or play.

    Turn off wifi & bluetooth to save battery
    Turn off wifi

    This prevents hackers and outsiders from accessing your network. Also, it keeps the router cool and prevents it from getting heated, not to mention the save in electricity bill 😉

Configure WPA WiFi Security in Windows

WPA2 or Wireless Protected Access 2 is the best form of wireless security for your WiFi internet connection, better than WEP or WPA (its predecessor). But this new type of encryption is neither supported in all Wireless Routers, nor in all Windows versions.

This tutorial will guide you through to ultimate wireless security for your WiFi connection.

Does your Wireless Router support WPA ??

If you have a very old Wireless router, chances are that it will neither support WPA, nor WPA2. Call your router manufacturer support staff and ask if your router can support WPA or WPA2.

Upgrade the wireless router firmware with the support staff’s help, if necessary. If your router doesn’t support WPA or WPA2, stay cool with a WEP encrypted password, no need to go further into this tutorial.

Does your Computer Support WPA ??

For Windows XP Service Pack 1 (Win XP SP1)

Windows XP SP1 does not support WPA by default while it cannot support WPA 2 at all.

To upgrade your computer to support WPA (but not WPA2), either Install Windows XP Support Patch for WPA from Microsoft or upgrade your computer to XP SP2 or SP3.
For Windows XP Service Pack 2 (Win XP SP2)
Your computer supports WPA by default, but not WPA2. To also support WPA2, either install the WiFi WPA2 update for XP SP2 from Microsoft or upgrade it to Service Pack 3.
For Windows XP Service Pack 3 / Vista / 7

Your computer supports both WPA and WPA 2 by default. So directly jump to the next section.

How to Configure WPA2 WiFi Security

1. Open your WiFi router’s administrative console by entering the routers IP address in your browser’s address bar.

Useful Tip: How to find your router’s IP address

2. Now log- in to the console through your username and password, which in most cases is set as default:
USERNAME: admin
PASSWORD: password


Change Default Administrator Password on Wireless Routers

3. Go to Wireless Setup and click on Wireless Settings

Wireless Setup

4. Now, in the Security Mode choose WPA Personal, in the WPA Mode choose WPA2 and in Pre-Shared Key enter your desired password..

WPA2 Setup

WiFi Security – Enable MAC Address Filtering

Most wireless routers have an inbuilt feature called MAC Address filtering. By enabling it, only devices whose MAC addresses are configured in the router can access WiFi, thus allowing for maximum WiFi Security.

By default this feature is turned off, because it requires some steps to be followed for setting it up. After which, your neighbors won’t be able to access your WiFi. 😉


WiFi Security (image by Cloned Milkmen)

Although it is possible to spoof a MAC address, i.e an attacker could extract MAC address details from your network and pretend to be that device, to connect to your WiFi.

But since its a lengthy & advanced process, so its not followed by many people and thus MAC address filtering will protect you from majority of amateur WiFi hackers.

How to enable WiFi Mac Address Filtering for Optimum WiFi Security??

To enable MAC Address Filtering for your WiFi Router, follow the steps below:

1. Open your WiFi router’s administrative console by entering the routers IP address in your browser’s address bar.

Useful Tip: How to find your router’s IP address

 

2. Now log- in to the console through your username and password, which in most cases is set as default:
USERNAME: admin
PASSWORD: password


Change Default Administrator Password on Wireless Routers

3. In the administrative console, navigate to Advanced Wireless Settings page and click on Network Filter or MAC Address Filtering.


Advanced Wireless Settings

4. Turn Mac Address filtering ON, from the drop-down menu & enter the MAC addresses of the devices you want to allow to use your WiFi.

Handy Tip: How to find your Device’s MAC address

Enable MAC address filtering
5. Click on save settings and restart your WiFi router.

Congoz..!! You’ve successfully secured your WiFi internet connection. Now only those devices will be able to connect to your WiFi network, which are mentioned in the list of Mac Addresses you just made. 😀

How to Increase Speed of Broadband Internet

The Internet and all the technological advances that help you access it are wonderful when everything is working the way it’s supposed to work.

However, when your broadband connection is slower than the cast of the Jersey Shore is at grasping anything remotely intellectual, you may find yourself ready to curse Al Gore and Bill Gates for propagating this thing called the Web.


internet speed (original by Speedtest.net)

Fortunately, there are ways to boost your broadband speed and embrace the many benefits of a connected world.

Restart Your Computer and Router

Turn your computer and broadband router off at the same time. Wait a minute or two, and turn them back on together. This resets the microprocessors to the same starting point to bring them in sync again.


router by andy roberts

Run a free online broadband speed test to confirm any additional problems. Try it out at speedtest.net

Confirm Your Broadband Speed

Run a broadband speed test to verify the maximum speed of your connection. If you are connected via a phone line, realize that the speed will not be the same once it reaches your computer due to the distance it travels through the line.


Internet Speed by speedtest.net

Must Read: How to Speed up Windows Internet

The speed your provider states is the speed at which they send you the signal, not the speed it is when you receive it. Consider changing to a wireless router or, at the very least, use the shortest cord possible for the connection.

Confirm Your Download Allowance

A growing number of Internet service providers (ISP) limit your speed if you exceed your monthly usage amount. Rather than charge you an extra fee for going over, your ISP will slowdown your speed.

You may not notice the difference until peak hours when more users are slowing down your connection even more. Consider switching to a better plan by your ISP.

Place Your Wireless Router and Computer in the Same Room

The signal between a wireless router and your computer can travel through walls and ceilings, but doing so can weaken the signal. If possible, place your computer and router in the same room to remove any obstacles that might impede the signal strength.

Bonus: Disable SSID Broadcast for WiFi

The more barriers between the router and the computer, the weaker the signal, which results in slower internet connection.

Invest in a Quality Router


Belkin WiFi Router by Belkin Int'l

An inexpensive router or modem can produce a slower & low quality signal than a higher quality router. Price is not an indication of quality.

Some high quality routers aren’t really that much more expensive than standard routers. Read reviews to get an idea of which router meets your requirements.

Use the Right Microfilters

Microfilters help clear up phone line interference. If your broadband installation employs microfilter connectors between your phone socket and the phone line that connects to your router, make sure you’re using a microfilter for each connection.

Also, make sure you’re using the correct type of microfilter. Your provider will be able to give you exact specs for the right microfilters.

Shutdown Unnecessary Applications

Running too many applications at once can drain your broadband speed, especially during peak hours. Shutdown applications you don’t need at the moment from your control panel to verify that they are no longer running.

It may just be one or two applications slowing down your connection. To find the culprit, add each application one at a time until you find the one that is causing the issue.

Remove this application or replace it with a similar one that doesn’t have as many system requirements, or disable automatic updates.

Update Anti-virus Software


avg antivirus free
Out-of-date anti-virus software can drain your broadband speed since your computer will be searching for updates each time you turn on your computer. Viruses and adware can further slowdown your computer.

See: Top 5 Free Anti Virus Softwares

Run a full diagnostic test to confirm the presence of any viruses. Also, install recommended updates or install new anti-virus software. If your computer remains slow, reinstall Windows or revert back to the last saved version to remove any hidden viruses.

About The Author:

Tony Alvarez is a computer tech and writes for a site where you’ll find unlimited broadband deals and see how relevant a broadband comparison may be for your business or personal use.