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Wireless Networks-Make sure they are secure

Boca Raton, FL -  Imagine sitting at home, watching television or surfing the internet, when all of a sudden agents knock on your door and question you about downloading child pornography. That is what happened recently to an upstate New York resident. Problem is, he didn't download child pornography. Someone else in his apartment complex hijacked his Wi-Fi signal to download the illegal images. The unknowing victim made a mistake; he didn't lock down his Wi-Fi signal to prevent others from tapping into it.

Open Wi-Fi networks are an easy target, opening up access to your home computer system and your connection to the internet.

There are a few preventive measures you can take to protect yourself and your information:

  • Change all default passwords. It is important to change these so an unauthorized person cannot access the router and view or change the settings. All passwords should be a series of numbers, letters and symbols that would be difficult for others to guess. Always keep passwords in a secure location.
  • Change the SSID or name assigned to your router, preferably something unrelated to your home and disable its broadcasting feature. Typically, a router with a default name such as Linksys or Netgear that is broadcasted into the neighborhood tells others that you may not have taken the time to secure your network and it is a good one to target.
  • Enable network encryption. Newer equipment will allow you to utilize Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 (WPA2) but older systems may only have Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP). Although the WPA2 encryption is preferred, a WEP encryption is better than no encryption at all.

By taking the above steps, you will reduce the chance that someone will gain access to your wireless network. In doing so, you will make it a lot harder for someone to get your personal information or make you the subject of a criminal investigation.

By the way, using someone else's Wi-Fi network without their permission is illegal.