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Secure Your Wireless Network

Santa Clause brought the kids a wireless network this year. You opened all the boxes, plugged everything in and ran the setup software. Every computer in the house shares your high speed Internet connection now. Works like a charm....right? Not so fast.

Did you know that when you install most wireless networking systems out of the box they are NOT secured? This means your next door neighbor could put a wireless card on his computer and connect to your network. He's loving it! He gets to surf the web on your high speed connection for free!

But wait... there's more. Is your computer sharing files? Now your neighbor can peruse your data. Any sensitive data in your email? Quicken? Turbo tax? You get the picture. And it's not just your neighbor. Anyone with a lap top and a wireless card could sit on your street in a car and do the same thing.

Now the good news! You can prevent all this. Read your wireless router or wireless access point's documentation. See how to get to its configuration screen. Most can be configured through a web browser. Turn on WEP. This is Wireless Encryption Protocol. It requires you to enter a hexadecimal key, sort of like a password, on the router and on each computer that you want to allow on the wireless network. This will keep your neighbors off your network and out of your files. Consult your documentation for detailed instructions.

Posted by Charles Swihart on 1/1/2004

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