Prevent Wifi Bandwith Moochers

If you have a Wifi network, chances are that an experienced individual can see your network from well beyond the range of your wireless router. You cant do much from preventing said determined individual from “seeing” your network but you can stop 99.9% of the population (the .1% being the NSA, hehe) from gaining access to your wifi network and hogging up all your bandwidth. For you poor souls out there that are still rocking the ‘WEP’ encryption, here is a movie for you… It shows how an “experienced individual” can gain access to your WEP protected network in roughly 10 minutes!

If you don’t want these individuals hogging your bandwidth (to say the least), here are some general things you can do to bring some basic security measures to your shinny new wifi router/access point.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means, a Wifi security expert. These tips are those collected from my own trial and error and the experience gained while attempting to secure friends and families’ home wireless networks. Some of the things I list below might not be an option with your wifi router and/or hardware. Like always, your mileage may vary.

Basic preventative measures you can take to stop “free loading bandwidth moochers” from abusing your wireless network.

  • change your factory default admin password
  • turn off SSID broadcasting
  • change the default SSID name
  • turn on WPA or at the very least enable WEP

For the more paranoid out there, you can also:

  • further filter access via MAC addresses
  • turn off DHCP and assign static IP’s
  • authenticate wireless users with FreeRADIUS (WPA Enterprise)
  • determine the correct placement of your wifi router for minimal outside leakage
  • turn wifi or hard wired network OFF during long periods of no activity
  • put a firewall between your LAN and access point

Well, there you have it. At the very least, know that its possible for a determined individual to gain unauthorized access to your wifi network when all you have protecting said network is WEP. Hey, hope all they want to do is check their email… 😉

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