I keep my Wi-Fi completely open. I don’t want to have to remember anymore passwords than i absolutely have to. Besides, I would notice someone sitting on my front lawn trying to steal my Wi-Fi…wouldn’t I?
Not necessarily. Distance isn’t a viable security option, unless you live like on your own personal island, or in Grizzly Adam’s old cabin. And just how much DO you trust your neighbors? Or the guy a mile away accessing your network to steal your identity, or the guy driving past your house downloading kiddie porn courtesy of your network…right before he calls the cops on you.
If your network is secured, you should check if you’re using the old WEP encryption. If you do, your network may not be as secure as you think. There are all sorts of downloadable how-to’s on the internet giving step-by-step instructions on how to crack a Wi-Fi network that is WEP-encrypted. So what you say? Not news. Well, the surprising part of it, is that it’s not even that hard, and can be done by someone with minimal networking experience, free software, and a cheap Wi-Fi adapter. I’m not going to go through the instructions here. They are accessed easily-enough without my help. If you do need my help to access the instructions, then the world has nothing to fear from you anyways.
If you are unsure of what kind of security encryption your network currently uses, check. In Windows XP (with at least Service Pack 2), networks using some type of security will say “Security-enabled wireless network”. If WPA or WPA2 is being used it will be shown in parentheses; otherwise WEP is being used. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, hover over the network on the list to see more details, including the security type. Most Wi-Fi products bought in 2005 or after should support WPA2. If you have a wireless router, access points, computers, or other Wi-Fi devices that were purchased in 2005 or before, you might want to double-check the support of WPA2.
If you’re worried about memorizing yet another password, simply put a sticky-note on your monitor, or on your router. If someone in your home is accessing your network, you’ve either obviously given them permission, or you have more to worry about than just the security of your network. Or use a simple password that is easy for you to remember (a pet’s name, your pet name of your private part), but not so easy for someone randomly trying to access your network from outside your home.
By the way, if you choose to Google whether or not the instructions are, in fact, available on the internet, AND decide to test if they actually work, please keep this in mind…Knowledge is power. But with great power comes great responsibility. It doesn’t automatically mean you have to turn to the dark side, or do evil things with this power. Knowing how to pick a lock doesn’t automatically make you a thief. It just gives you the knowledge you need to protect yourself, and locks that are harder for others to pick.
After all, even if you do trust your neighbors, do you lock your door when you leave the house or go to sleep? If the answer is no…then ignore this post, put on your rose-coloured glasses, and by all means leave your Wi-Fi open. BUT…be ready to accept the consequences.
Otherwise, just secure your network.