Is Your Home Wireless Computer Safe? The Pros and Cons

@ sign and keyMany of us use wireless networking at home to take advantage of the freedom to “compute” in locations throughout the house. I like to work in the den where I can sit in my favorite chair and partially listen to the TV while browsing and writing.

This mobility is the major advantage to using a wireless computer at home. We naturally enjoy not being tethered to the Internet connection in that one room in the house. Okay…so much for the “pros” part of this article, a pretty short list, wouldn’t you say?

Now for the watch-out-fors or the “cons”. You knew the “cons” were coming next…didn’t you? Wireless networks are less secure than wired ones, primarily because physical access to the network isn’t necessary in order to tamper with it. A person within the range of your network, say on the street, with a few inexpensive tools, can access your network resources. This access may involve something as benign as piggybacking on your Internet access; or as sinister as installing malware on your computer or network devices. By the way, that malware may have the ability to steal passwords, bank card numbers, and any other personal information stored on your computer. Dark and gloomy would be our prospects if we didn’t have the following practices to help us stay safe while wireless networking.

As promised, here are some what-you-can-do tips to help stay safe while wireless networking:

  • If you have a “wired” computer in addition to your wireless one; use the wired one for critical functions such as your online banking and purchases.
  • Always use an anti-virus package with the automatic updates enabled.
  • Use a router that has at least Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) version 1, or even better, version 2 (WPA2) encryption capability.
  • Turn off your wireless computer connection when your computer is on but not being used.
  • Always change the default wireless network adapter SSID to one unique to you and use a strong password as well.

The primary message of this article is that wireless computing can be dangerous, but by implementing the above tips you can use your wireless pc more safely and enjoy the benefits of wireless computers in your home.

Please comment on this article; we all learn from each other when our views and opinions are shared.

I hope you enjoyed this article.  If you enter your email address in the Email Subscriptions box on the right side of the page, I’ll send you an email when a new article is posted.  I don’t share your email address with anyone…not anyone; I hate spam too.  Please share my site with your friends and family.  Thanks.

Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

paulshomecomputing@yahoo.com

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6 Comments

Filed under home computing, Internet, networking, security

6 responses to “Is Your Home Wireless Computer Safe? The Pros and Cons

  1. In my opinion, I would rather be on safe side and choose all above including one more to have a computer support service provider with me who can update me, and help me out during problems. Much people doesn’t even use password protection for their Wi-Fi connections, which results in unknown usage of their Wi-Fi connections.The Best and smart ways is to Turn off devices when not in use.

  2. Paul,
    Great topic to get people thinking about. One thing I would like to add, if I may, is suggesting the use of directional antennas, instead of the omnidirectional ones that come ‘stock’. With them you can “aim” your Wi-Fi signal to the area(s) where you will actually be computing, and reduce the power and range to the rest of the neighborhood.

  3. Adrian

    WPA2 uses which type of encryption? AES-256 or what? Thanks.

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