I have covered this topic before but I feel it is important to return here from time to time. Almost everyone now has a wireless network at home. This usually starts with your ISP (Internet provider) installing a internet / wireless router at home when you sign up for service. Often this is the same company (Comcast, Verizon etc.) who are also providing you with TV service.
When the “cable guy” installs your router very often, unless you say something at install the default settings regarding security are left in place. This is not good.
So the first thing you need to do is change the default username and password. These settings work on all of the model routers you were given “out of the box”. Manufacturers of these devices publish the instructions for proper setup on their websites, and it is not hard at all to go through this process to get the information and it is very easy for hackers to access networks where the default settings have not been change.
So Here Is What You Can Do
Turn on compatible WPA/WEP encryption. Technology of encryption makes the messages that go over WiFi unreadable to people. There are several technologies for wireless encryption and, of course, it would be best to use the strongest method of encryption. Keep in mind that encryption technologies require all WiFi devices to use the same setup.
You should change the default SSID (network name) as well. First thing someone needs to get into your network is the SSID. When someone finds out that your default SSID has not been changed, they know that your network is weakly configured. Networks like this are targets of attacks more often.
After you did all this, you should activate the firewall on every computer or router. Modern wireless routers allow you to use their implemented firewall, but they also let you deactivate it. You need to check if firewall on your router is on, and for even better protection, you should also use the firewall on every computer you have.
You should also position your router in a safe spot. It is normal that some wireless signal reaches out of your home and that it not the problem. If your signal reaches far away from your home, it is simpler for an unknown person to find it and use it. The position of an access point or router determines its reach. Try to position your device as close to center of a house as possible, that’s going to reduce your signal reach. You really do not need the signal strength so strong that your neighbors can see your network.
As the last security measure you should turn off your wireless network if you don’t use it for long periods of time. Even though it might not seem like a practical solution, you should consider it if you’re out of your home for a couple of days.