The truth about protecting your Wi-Fi

locked routerProtecting your Wi-Fi network is essential for keeping your privacy protected, but how do you know your network protection is up to par?

Dave John­­son, eHow’s editorial director, has the help you need with clear do’s and don’ts for protecting your Wi-Fi network.

  • Don’t hide your router’s ID or SSID. Hiding your network’s name simply makes it show up as an un­­named network. It doesn’t block any­­one from seeing that the network exists. It may invite interest from hackers about what you’re hiding.
  • Don’t use media access control (MAC) address filtering. A MAC address is the unique sequence of numbers and letters assigned to an individual electronic device such as a phone, laptop or tablet. By filtering the MAC addresses within your network settings, you limit access to your router to only the individual MAC sequences you’ve specifically granted access. Doing so seems solid, but it won’t stop hackers.
  • Don’t shrink the Internet Pro­­to­­col pool. If you limit the number of allowable IP addresses, hackers are still able determine which addresses are allowed and use that information to hack into your system.
  • Do use encryption and strong passwords. Encryption—the best of which today is WPA2—is the process of encoding messages to prevent the original information from being recognizable. This makes it difficult for hackers to read your information and infiltrate your network. Boost your security with a strong password: no fewer than 12 characters, using numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters.

— Adapted from “Wi-Fi security precautions that don’t work,” Dave Johnson, CBS MoneyWatch.