Wireless networks

An unsecured wireless network can allow anyone within signal range to access your network or use your internet connection. Because they do not require a wire between a computer and the internet connection, it is easy for anyone to access if it is unprotected. You need to take a few simple steps to better protect that signal and make your network more secure from unauthorised access.

Protect your wireless network

Use this guidance to secure your internet connection and a small business or home wireless network.

Remember: If you don’t take steps to protect your internet connection and network, they could be used illegally and without your knowledge.

Secure your wireless connections and network

  1. Change the default SSID and administration username and password.
    Wireless hardware and software usually comes with a default digital name - a ‘service set identification number’ (SSID) – and a default administration username and password set by the manufacturer. These user names and passwords are publically available as they are meant to be changed when you start using the device.

    Change the SSID, if you can, to something unique and set a strong password on your wireless network.  Find out how to set and use strong passwords. Change the password on your wireless on a regular basis to prevent the network being accessed by ex-exployees or contractors given prior access to this information.
     
  2. Turn encryption on and use the strongest encryption available.
    Encryption is a mathematical process used to keep information secret. Encryption scrambles messages up in a way that makes it very difficult for anyone to understand should they be intercepted.

    Choose WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 encryption if possible.
    If your device only shows a WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) option, replace it with a new device that offers WPA or WPA2. WEP remains highly vulnerable and is not recommended.
     
  3. Set up separate wireless networks for public use. If your business offers a wireless network for use by customers or the public, such networks should be separate to any business networks that communicate or store sensitive information.
     
  4. Turn off remote access or any feature that allows you to give administration access to someone off-site.
     
  5. Turn off your wireless connection when you are not using it for extended periods, for example over night or on weekends.