Saturday, February 26, 2005

Protecting your Computer ...

from Viruses, Spam and Other Garbage

You’re checking e-mail on your wireless home network. Or you’re at a neighborhood cafe, wirelessly surfing the Web on your laptop. And in both situations, you could be at risk.

A computer connected to a wireless network is particularly vulnerable to identity thieves, hackers, spyware, worms, and other Internet threats. Because a wireless network broadcasts data over public airwaves, nearby thieves and vandals can see what you’re doing on the Internet and intercept your data.

Here is today's Tip for securing your wireless access point of router from intruders:

Change the Default SSID on Wireless Access Points and Routers

Wi-Fi access points and routers ship with a pre-defined network name (SSID) set by the manufacturer.

The SSID can be accessed from within these products' Web-based or Windows-based configuration utilities. Common examples of pre-defined SSIDs are simple names like "wireless," "netgear," "linksys," or "default." An SSID can be changed at any time, as long as the change is also made on all wireless clients.

To improve the security of your home wireless network, change the SSID to a different name than the default. Here are some recommended do's and dont's, based on best network security practices:

  • Don't use your name, address, birthdate, or other personal information as part of the SSID.
  • Likewise, don't use any of your Windows or Internet Web site passwords.
  • Don't tempt would-be intruders by using tantalizing network names like "SEXY-BOX" or "TOP-SECRET".
  • Do pick an SSID that contains both letters and numbers
  • Do choose a name as long or nearly as long as the maximum length allowed.
  • Do consider changing your SSID every few months.

This is part 2 of the podcasting series.


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