18 June 2009 Internet
How to lock Wireless Broadband Connection
At first glance having your wireless connection hijacked is not as improbable as it may seem.
Regardless of whether your wireless connection is liberated by a balaclava-clad burglar during the night or a chap on his laptop sitting in a white van outside your house on his lunchbreak, the end result is the same: a high bill or, even worse, a 'policeman's knock' at 5am.
To avoid this happening to you and to ensure that nobody piggy-backs on your broadband connection, have a look at the helpful hints below.
Get a password
It is a fact that a lot of broadband users overlook the importance of a network key or password. This invariably leaves their wireless network, and critically, their documents and data, unprotected and open to all and sundry within range. Ouch.
The safest way to prevent unauthorised access to the system is to strictly limit it only to those people who need to be aware of the password, which then has to be entered before the network can be accessed.
To make your network's password even more secure, you can adjust the depth of protection by means of encryption, as described below.
Use a strong encryption method
If you are unfamiliar with the term and what it involves, this may help. If you have a wireless broadband deal, basically there are two types of encryption used to protect wireless networks, namely, WEP and WPA.
With WEP protection, the wireless router creates a sequence of random letters and numbers using either 10 (64bit) or 26 (128bit) characters which form the password you would use to get into your network.
But this method of encryption has become a hacker's dream as it didn't take them long to learn how to crack any password by simply doing a quick search on Google, making this method about as safe as a car careering downhill with no brakes and with the turbo booster on max.
With WPA, you are able to choose your own password made up in any way you like. This is virtually impossible to hack, with only the people knowing the password able to log-on. Sounds safer, doesn't it?
Monitor how much bandwidth you are using
It is only common sense to realise that sending and receiving emails or watching iPlayer is bound to cost you something. This cost is initially carried by your broadband provider who then craftily passes these costs on to you, as the user, once it reaches a certain trigger point.
So, if your broadband package allows you a limited amount of usage every month, 5Gb for example, you will have to pay extra if you exceed the limit but with an unlimited broadband package, it is immaterial how much bandwidth you use as it is all included in the monthly price.
A password is definitely a must. It not only protects your network from being piggy-backed by any Tom, Dick or Harry with you having to foot the whole bill, but it also means you can monitor your bandwidth usage by means of a nifty free program such as NetMeter. This keeps your network safe from any unlawful shenanigans behind your back.
Don't forget a firewall
In this day and age, with the number of sophisticated internet hackers around, you must be able to protect your broadband connection as far as possible from virtual intrusion.
A hardware firewall, which is fortunately built in to just about all routers, offers far better secure protection than the average software firewall does.
This deters unwelcome hackers and any other illegal attempts to access your computer via the internet.
What you must do is to have a good look through the manual for your router to make certain that your firewall is turned on.
But you must also realise that a firewall alone is insufficient safeguard against viruses, so it is absolutely essential to also have anti-virus software installed, which you should keep regularly up to date.