Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is relatively new but is fast becoming the norm. At present it is neither 100% reliable or secure. The problem is there are no physical boundaries. With a cable connection you need physical access to tap into the connection whereas with a Wi-Fi signal you can pick it up outside the office or home. Related article for this section is - Vulnerabilities of wireless networking.

Enable MAC (media access code) filtering
MAC is a number assigned to each computer's Wi-Fi card which filters much like a night-club bouncer who has a list of approved users. This method is not 100% but at least it creates another barrier.

Hide the SSID (service set identifier)
In simple English SSID is your Wi-Fi network name. When you hide your SSID people will see a Wi-Fi network but not the name of it. If you want to be connected then they need to enter the name. As with MAC filtering there are ways round it but again its another hurdle.

Reduce the broadcast power
Some routers let you chose the broadcast power ... keep it low and this means your signal will travel less distance.

Turn off auto connect
Laptops and other devices can automatically connect to any old Wi-Fi hotspot. Turn it off and choose instead.

Turn it off
Going on holiday for two weeks? Turn it off to boost security and help save the environment!

Change the default username and password
By default the control panel username and password is something like 'admin' or 'access'. Best to change the password at least.

Change the control panel url
The default control panel address is normally 192.168.0.1. To enhance security change the last digit to 2 or something else.

Change the SSID (service set identifier)
By default the SSID or network name is normally netgear or dlink. Change it to something generic that does use your house number or business name as the SSID.

Enable the firewall
These days most modern router or router modems come with a basic firewall and NAT (network address translation). Enable this for an extra layer of firewall protection.

Enable encryption
Encryption stops people intercepting and reading your data as it whizzes around. WPA2 is a good choice and you can choose a key up to 63 characters (more is better).

Backup settings
Once you have secured your Wi-Fi router, take a back-up of the settings.

Update the firmware
Like operating systems, routers need software updates. Once in a while check within the control panel for a firmware update.

Secure the router/modem
Place the modem and/or router in a secure area which is out of sight. This stops anyone interfering with it.

Be wary of public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are often unsecured with no encryption which means that someone with criminal intent and the right skills could be logging your data as you type. Try to use public hotspots with encryption and, if you are worried, buy a VPN service.

Set network location as public
Windows 7 lets you choose: home, work or public. When you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot it will ask you and if you are using a public Wi-Fi hotspot, select public.