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    9. Securing your Network - Wireless Security

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    • Wireless networks (or Wireless Local Area Networks—WLANs) are more vulnerable than wired LANs, since radio signals could be intercepted as they travel through the air. However, the good news is that protecting your wireless network is easy when you know the basics. We're going to give you a quick wireless security checklist, then delve into the subject in more depth.

      • Activate WPA encryption on your wireless router, following the instructions in your router's manual.
      • Change the default password of the router's administration tool. You can also find directions for this in your router's manual.
      • Stop broadcasting your network's SSID (or name) so that no one outside your household can see it.
      • Don't keep the router's default SSID (which is usually the manufacturer, like "Linksys").
      • Locate your router as close to the interior of your house as you can to minimize the distance outside your home your network broadcasts.

      Now that we've covered the basics, we recommend you take a few minutes to read on and familiarize yourself with the details behind these steps, as well as to get more suggestions for securing your wireless network.

      Tasks at the Router

      These security precautions involve tweaking settings on your wireless router. This is generally a very simple process of accessing the router’s administrative tools and selecting pre-supplied options. 

      Encrypt Your Network: Deploy WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 
      WPA encryption helps prevent outsiders from accessing and using your wireless network. Without it, you're basically operating a free Wi-Fi hot spot. Most of today's routers offer WPA protection, which is preferable because it relies on a password you choose (see tip below for password strength) rather than a long hexadecimal key like WEP. WEP is still very secure if that's your only option, just make sure to write down the generated key and keep it in a safe place.

      Change Your Default Router Administrative Password 
      Most wireless networking devices come from the manufacturer with a default password, usually something like "admin." Make sure to change it as soon as possible. Most hackers can easily figure out the default password once they identify the make of your network access point. You should also pay close attention to password strength guidelines. Having a strong password is crucial to securing your network, and is good policy no matter the application.

      Hide Your Network 
      When you go to your network icon, can you see a list of available networks? That list shows each network’s SSID (Service Set Identifier), and everyone can see yours, too. If possible, consider “not broadcasting” your SSID, which will make your network invisible to passers-by and hackers.

      If you hide, or “close”, your network, be sure to write down your network’s name and password, keep it in a secure place, and only share it with your family and trusted visitors to your home.

      Change Your Network SSID/Name 
      Most networking devices ship with a default network name ("linksys", anyone?). Once your network is up and running, change the name. Choose something you’ll remember but that is not directly tied to you (i.e., don’t use your name or address). A combination of letters, numbers and symbols is recommended.

      Other Tasks

      Move Your Router 
      If people can’t get your signal, they can’t get on your network. Place your router or access point in the middle of the room, away from windows and doors. The more walls you can put in the way of the outside world, the less distance the radio signal will tend to travel.

      You've Got Malware! 
      It's true—even the most security-conscious, vigilant PC user can get a virus or malware. The good news is that it's entirely possible to eradicate most viruses while protecting the data on your computer.

      You could discover you have a virus when your antivirus program performs a scan, or when you see evidence of suspicious activity like an application behaving strangely. If you think you're infected, here are steps you can take to fix it:
      • Disconnect your computer from the network after updating your antivirus software definitions.
      • Run an antivirus scan. Your software should return a report listing all the malware and viruses on your system. Write them all down on a piece of paper so you can keep track.
      • Most antivirus products give you the option of allowing them to automatically remove or quarantine the malicious programs. Let the software do the work for you.
      • If your software reports success, then reboot your computer.
      • Run your antivirus program one more time. If the program comes up clean, then you've won the battle and you can carry on as usual. If it shows back up in the list, then you'll need to repeat the steps.
      What happens if you have a stubborn bit of malware that your antivirus software cannot remove? You have a few options, but the most direct is to use your favorite search engine to search for the name of the malware plus "removal." Just be very careful that you're getting advice from a reputable source.

      Or, you can contact Dell's Solution Station for personalized assistance in identifying, removing and preventing all variants of spyware and viruses, as well as enabling firewalls and antivirus programs. 

      If the unthinkable happens and you do end up losing all your data, having everything backed up can be a lifesaver. Dell DataSafe, for example, allows you to schedule regular backups to secure online storage so you never lose your valuable pictures, documents and memories. 

      Now you're a wireless security expert! You know everything you need to know to make sure your PCs are safe from outside intrusion.

    • View Answer at http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/learn/network/secure_wireless?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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