Some basic WiFi security tips


March 15, 2006 11:53 AM

WiFi or wireless access is getting quite common these days, in homes and in public places like cafes and airports. Here’s a few essential tips for anyone who uses WiFi at home:

  1. Secure your home WiFi access point by setting a password for the wireless network at the bare minimum. If you can change the protocol, change it to WPA-PSK as well.
  2. Next you can limit the number of IP addresses that the built-in DHCP will dole out (eg. set it to 1 if you are the only one using it). This way even if someone cracks your password, they still can’t “grab” an IP address and join the network.
  3. But then what if the smart leecher assigns themself their own IP address, you ask? You can lock it down further by limiting WiFi access to specificied MAC addresses – the unique number associated with each and every network card in the world (eg. your own).

Now what about public WiFi in cafes and airports?

  1. Always, ALWAYS have your firewall turned on. The built-in Windows one or anything else.
  2. Make sure that none of your Windows folders are shared out.
  3. You can use VPNs – Virtual Private Networks. This will encrypt traffic to and from your laptop so that other users of the same public WiFi cannot sniff out your passwords etc. But it is hard even for a techie to set up and most times it slow things down. If the sites that you are visiting are using HTTPS (or in layman’s terms, you see the little lock icon at the bottom of your browser), then the traffic to those sites are encrypted anyway.
  4. If one is paranoid, before leaving the premise change the passwords to the sites that you did visit.
  5. It’s also a good idea to not spend the whole day on the same public WiFi. This reduces the window of opportunity for someone to attempt to hack in to your laptop, or to sniff out more of your traffic.

Asides:

  • Is it me or are there a lot of ppl who like to be seen in public using their laptops? There must be some coolness factor that I’m not comprehending.
  • I may lust after a MacBook Pro but I still like working on my desktop PC at home. And when I’m out, I want to be doing other things than tapping away on my laptop! Coffee or no coffee! 😛
  • And don’t call it a “lappy”!

19 thoughts on “Some basic WiFi security tips

  1. Kynne

    Good tips on the WiFi! I specified mine and my dad’s with the MAC addresses. Feels so much safer that way. 🙂

    About using laptops in public, yeah they think it’s “cool”. I don’t get it though. Most of them place it on their laps, then their laps get hot. As for the guys, don’t their cuckoonuts get hot after a while. Tak sakit ke?

    Hahaha!

    Reply
  2. mooiness Post author

    domestic rat: yeah a lot of ppl take these things for granted nowadays.

    kynne: there are studies that show that the heat from the laptops are not good for the sperm count. 😉

    slinky: they can afford a laptop but not internet access? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? 😛

    Reply
  3. mooiness Post author

    michael: yup that’s highly possible – especially in apartment blocks. The signals must be so strong from everywhere! A leecher’s paradise.

    Reply
  4. SimplySiti

    Just me being the pervert that I am…

    If one is surfing porn on the laptop that is placed on his/her lap that can be counted as a lapdance and hence the term ‘lappy’ kinda fits what…

    Sorry, just felt the need to defend myself calling my baby, lappy. (But no, i dont surf porn with my laptop on my lap. Hot leh. Literally.)

    Reply
  5. mooiness Post author

    siti: definitely not advisable to surf for long times with the laptop on your lap (heh). And no I don’t buy your rationalisation of “lappy”. I hate that word! Wahhahahha!

    Reply
  6. Christina

    I hate people who call it a ‘lappy’. Wtf, you either call it a laptop or a notebook, or you don’t call it anything at all! *Thwacks them*

    I had a password on my wireless network, but then I took it off and now I just have it MAC-locked. I keep meaning to put password on, but I’m too lazy. I lie. I can’t be bothered. But I will now I think because the world can read that 😛

    Reply
  7. mooiness Post author

    leonard: don’t lose too much sleep. 😉

    bm: if you can do the first one then that’s better than nothing. Most ppl don’t even set up a password and any stranger nearby can just use their wireless that *they* are paying for without them knowing.

    christina: Well actually if you got it MAC-locked then you’re pretty much safe. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Leonard

    geees….i yet set anything…my mind is full of mist water… finally connect to wireless on my dopod818 with ease…guess ppl can do it too and i pay for them.

    had to read ur tips again sia.

    currently i just unplug when i not at home.

    HELP!!!

    Reply
  9. mooiness Post author

    rob: hmmm not bad. but I can’t justify spending that much on a piece of “luxury” now. Besides I don’t really need a laptop. 😉

    A desktop is far better value to me plus it can last longer with upgrades etc.

    Reply
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