Setting up WPA

Follow these steps to a safer Wi-Fi network

Although WEP [WEP], or Wireless Equivalent Privacy, was once an acceptable standard for defending a Wi-Fi network, times have changed. WEP was constructed in 1999, and as you might expect, much has changed in both technology and the internet world since that time. Today, hackers are far craftier and wireless is far more prevalent, creating a clear need for a stronger defense against intruders.

WPA [WPA], or Wi-Fi Protected Access, is the most recent and widely embraced method of keeping snoops out. It uses a 256 bit key to prevent hackers from entrance, and allows users to employ ASCII characters instead of the easier-to-crack hexadecimal format associated with WEP.

Advertiser Links for Setting up WPA

**Caption: McAfee offer packaged and online WPA protection

Here we'll show you clear steps to downloading and putting WPA into place. The best place to find a free download of WPA is through McAfee [http://www.gizmocafe.com/shop/?ysq=mcafee], who offer a no-cost trial.

So long as you use a recent version of Windows, click on the first link under the "Downloads" section. You'll be instantly prompted to save or open the file, so proceed.

Once the program is installed and you select "run", the InstallShield Wizard for McAfee Wireless Security will initiate. Proceed through the licensing agreement and select a directory for installation. This is all standard procedure. When everything is said and done, the program will prompt you to restart your computer in order to complete the process. Do that now.

Once your system reboots, you'll be presented with a message welcoming you to McAfee Wireless Security. Three buttons are now visible, including:

Secure My Wireless Network

The first step to protecting your Access Point/router.

Connect to Secured Wireless Network

Just as it sounds, find a Wi-Fi network you have access to, and connect.

Cancel

Don't click this.

Don't be distracted, now. Click on the top tab, or "Secure My Wireless Network", and let's get started.

The next step is to enter enough information to set up an account with McAfee. You'll need to do this before accessing the system (much like the Linksys procedure in our guide to hiding your SSID [Steps to Protect You and Your Wireless]). Input the following:

  • Username
  • Password
  • Security question
  • Email address
  • The rest is at your discretion

McAfee will now give you steps to set up your "wireless wall". Since their instructions aren't always the clearest, we'll try to simplify them here.

  • Make sure everything is connected, including your router.
  • Right click on the tiny little red key in your toolbar. Then click "Manage Wireless Network".
  • Enter the password and username you typed in during our third step (above).
  • From here you want to "Create a New Network". Type in something that's not easily broken and won't clearly link you to your wireless name.
  • Then click "Add Access Point". This will begin McAfee's Access Point Addition Wizard. Click "Next" to begin.
  • McAfee will then automatically scan for any local Access Points.
  • So long as everything is connected, the detection should find your Access Point.
  • If you want to include another computer in your now established Access Point, click the "Add Member" tab.
  • Close everything up when you've completed this.