Steps to Protect You and Your Wireless

Hiding your SSID

We've established that using a wireless network can be very dangerous. Even more dangerous is leaving your SSID, or Service Set Identifier, visible to everyone on the block, an oversight that might as well be like running down your street buck naked. People notice. Sometimes they even take advantage of you.

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**Caption: Many routers allow you to hide your SSID

Repressed memories aside, it's simply not a good idea to leave your SSID open to your neighbor's peepers. It allows anyone within range to see which network is yours, and if unsecured, can allow someone to jump on board your internet connection knowing exactly who it is they're latching onto.

Here's how you can stop that.

  • Since most people use Linksys routers [Router Guide], the easiest way to show you how to cloak your SSID is by going through for that hardware. You can connect to the Linksys setup screen by connecting to the 'net and punching in the URL 192.168.1.1. You'll need to have that Linksys router for this to work, so make sure it isn't another brand.
  • Don't be alarmed by the system's request of your username or password. Although most protocols like this give you an option to "Sign Up!" Linksys instead prefers that you type "admin" into the password bar, leaving the username slot empty.
  • Once you're allowed to enter, create your own account. This will involve entering a new password for the setup screen and a username.
  • You'll then be presented with the Linksys setup menu. The first tab you want to click on is "Wireless".
  • Here you can find a "Wireless Network Name" (SSID) box, where you can actually type in a (new) name for your Wi-Fi network.
  • Not sure what to enter? Try something difficult to remember. True, that might also leave you or a family member puzzled at some point, but to remedy this we recommend writing down the passcode on a pad somewhere in the house. A good place to jog down your key is on the fridge. Spell it out in magnets or scribble it down on a wipe pad. Just make sure little Billy can get to it or he'll fail that T-Rex research assignment!

**Caption: Lazy passwords make for broken security

NOTE : Don't use something predictable like your first name, "Linksys", or "Network". Too easy to figure out, crack.

  • Next, find the "Wireless SSID Broadcast" tab and select "Disabled".
  • Save your settings.
  • Remember that you must now go to each of the computers connected to your network and enter the new name for your wireless connection. You'll need to do this every time you change the network name, although it isn't an overly difficult process and could save you from some far more distressing heartache. In order to do this on your other PCs, simply follow the steps we've laid out [Protecting Your Wireless Network].
  • Now your network is restricted to those who know its name. That doesn't make it completely safe, but it's a step in the right direction.