Can My Neighbor use my wireless?

When we buy a new wireless router, it usually comes with most of the wireless security settings pre-configured to make our initial set-up a snap. Unfortunately, that is when it is the easiest to hack into. Those quick start instructions get us up and running in no time, but why read the rest of the manual when it is already working fine?

The new wireless routers are great, they extend the range all through the house and into the yard, and into my neighbor’s yard, and even into their house. When I look at available wireless networks, I see the last name of my neighbor across the street. Isn’t that great? But that means he can see my wireless network too. At first you might think this is no big deal, then the little boy from next door says “my dad said we don’t get to watch Avitar until after you get it”. Hmm.

Here are some tips to help you keep what is yours just yours.

Everyone tells you to use encrypted transmissions, do it, but if you think that makes it all secure, well, you don’t watch enough conspiracy movies.

My personal favorite is using mac filtering or an access list. Every TCP/IP device ever made has a unique in all the world “MAC address number”. If you set up and use MAC filtering, only those devices that you approve can ever get on your wireless at all. If you have different guests coming over often and bringing there own devices, and you have to set them up on your access list each time, then this may not be for you, but read on please.

Information thieves who might cruise the streets looking for wifi systems to hack are usually looking for the quick in and out, unless you are a movie star or work for the CIA. Be different and more difficult, chances are they will ride on down the street. Almost everyone uses the default IP address scheme, 192.168.1.1 for the router and DHCP starting with the next number. There is no law that states that you have to use this scheme for your private network. Change it to something else.

Change the administrator login name, all the thieves know that Linksys is the default login for Linksys routers, now they only have to guess the password. If that password is pronounceable or all numbers they can get in very quickly, mix-um up folks!
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