A private or public network can be used to connect to the internet wirelessly. A private network, such as In-home WiFi, uses a router to connect to the internet in your home, while a public network or hotspot is used to connect to the internet outside your home.
Both private and public wireless networks pose security risks to you and your computer. For example, unprotected wireless networks can easily be intercepted by internet hackers, who in turn can steal your personal information or expose your computer to malicious software.
The following information will help you improve your wireless security. Use the quick links below to navigate to a section of your choice.
Secure Your Access Point (Router)
- Enable WEP or WPA: WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (WiFi Protected Access) are designed to provide a wireless local area network (WLAN) with a level of security and privacy comparable to what is usually expected of a wired local area network (LAN). WPA provides a higher level of protection, with a 256-bit encryption, compared to the 128-bit encryption of WEP. Refer to your router's manual to verify its WEP/WPA compatibility.
- Create a strong SSID and Password: Your SSID (service set identifier) is a unique sequence of characters created for a wireless local area network (WLAN). If possible, disable the Allow of broadcast of name setting on your router, so that a client must match the SSID of the access point. Also, create a strong wireless password to help prevent unwanted access. Keep a copy of your new SSID and password for your records.
- Verify remote access is disabled: Remote access allows you to access the router remotely using a web browser, and can therefore compromise your network's security.
- Place the router near the center of the building: If the router is located near a window, there will be a stronger signal emanating from the building, which makes it easier for an intruder to locate your wireless network.
- use MAC filtering: MAC filtering allows you to limit access to your network. To enable this feature, enter into your router the 12-character MAC ID of each computer that will connect to your network. Be sure to update this information if you add or remove computers.
- Turn off your wireless connection when not in use: This will limit your exposure to threats and intrusions..
- Disable the Automatically Connect to Available Wireless Network setting on your computer. When this feature is enabled, your computer will likely connect to any wireless network within range without your knowledge, which can exposed your sensitive data to security risks.
- Ensure security programs installed on your computer are up-to-date with the latest virus definitions and security patches. You'll also need to download the latest version of your computer's operating system, as updates become available.
- Use a strong password when signing into your computer and online accounts.
Learn more about computer safety.
Security Suite is a comprehensive computer security package with real-time protection against all types of malicious software, and is available to Spectrum Internet customers at no additional cost. Learn more.
Public Network Tips
When connected to a public network:
- Turn off File and Printer Sharing.
- Make sure you're connected to a legitimate access point and be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid online transactions involving your credit card or bank account information.