I get a lot of questions from customers worried about neighbours and strangers stealing their Internet if they use Wi-Fi, so I thought it would be useful if I let you know how to check to see if you are secure and offer a couple tips to the more confident PC user on how to make yourself even more secure.
If your PC is Wi-Fi enabled you should see a panpipe style icon. Click on this to show a list of available Wi-Fi networks and look for the padlock or yellow shield next to your Router’s name. If you can’t remember your router’s name or SSID, it can usually be located on the back of your router box. If you don’t have a shield or a padlock then you may be using an unsecure network. You can do the same process on your mobile smart phone, by going into the phone settings.
If your Wi-Fi has this shield then you can be assured that your Wi-Fi has been encrypted, so no one can access your Internet without the encryption key (again usually listed on the back of your router).
If your Wi-Fi is secure but you want to take extra precautions then there are a couple more things you can do to make it harder for Wi-Fi hacker to get in. For example, if you can access your router’s settings then you can turn off “Broadcast SSID”. This will stop your router being listed as an available network and means that anyone wanted to connect on to your Wi-Fi must manually connect with the correct settings.
Finally, you can change the encryption key from the default supplied with the router, and you most certainly will want to change the password to access the router. These are often set to a simple password like “password”! This means that anyone who can work out your router manufacturer from your SSID (e.g. SKY33442 – obviously a SKY router) can find out the default password with a Google search and then login and change your security settings or find out your encryption key to gain access to your internet!
If you would like piece of mind, I am running a special offer until 31st December 2013 where I will come to your home, check your Wi-Fi security settings and implement the changes I have mentioned here for a fixed price of £30 (subject to availability and location).
Caroline The ‘PuterTutor