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Turn the Firewall On. A firewall is designed to protect computers from harmful intrusions and can be hardware-based or software-based. Wireless routers generally contain built-in firewalls, but are sometimes shipped with the firewall turned off. Be sure to check that the wireless router’sfirewall is turned on. Change Default Passwords. Most wireless routers come with preset passwords for controlling thedevices settings. This is different from the password used to gain access the wireless network
itself. Unauthorized users may be aware of the default passwords, so it is important to change therouter device’s password as soon as it is installed. Longer passwords made up of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols are more secure. Change the Default Name of the Network. A network’s name is known as its service set identifier called an SSID. When a computer with a wireless connection looks for and displays thewireless networks nearby, it lists each network that publicly broadcasts its SSID. Manufacturers give all of their wireless routers a default SSID, which is often 2 the company’s name. It is a good to change the network’s SSID, but to protect your privacy do not use personal information such as the names of family members. Turn Network Name Broadcasting Off. Wireless routers may broadcast the name of the network (the “SSID”) to the public. This feature is often useful for businesses, libraries, hotels and restaurants that want to offer wireless Internet access to customers, but it is needless for a privatewireless network. It is recommended that owners of home Wi-Fi networks turn this feature off. Use the MAC Address Filter. Every device that can connect to a Wi-Fi network has a MAC (Media Access Control) address or has a unique ID called the physical address. Wireless routers can screen the MAC addresses of all devices that connect to them, and users can set their wireless network to accept connections only from devices with MAC addresses that the router is set to recognize. In order to create another deterrent to unauthorized access, change the router’s settings to activate its MAC address filter to include only your devices. Extra Wi-Fi safety tips are turn off the Wi-Fi network when it will not be in use for extended periods of time, use anti-virus and anti-spyware software on the computers that access the wireless network, and don’t assume that public wireless networks are more secure.