There are a few things you can do to make your internet experience a little safer. This isn’t everything you can or should do, but these two things will enhance your everyday security without it taking a lot of effort to complete.
Disable your wireless router’s remote administration feature
This can be a very effective measure to prevent a hacker from taking over your wireless network. Many wireless routers have a setting that allows you to administer the router via a wireless connection or over the internet. This means that you can access all of the routers security settings and other features without having to be on a computer that is plugged into the router using an Ethernet cable. While this seems very convenient for being able to administer the router remotely, it provides another point of entry for the hacker to get to your security settings and change them to something a little more hacker friendly. While many people never change the factory default admin passwords to their wireless router, which makes things even easier for the hacker, you should also change the default admin password.
Beware of “Free” Wi-Fi
If you use public hotspots you are an easy target for man-in-the-middle and session hijacking attacks. Hackers can use simple tools to perform “man-in-the-middle” attacks where they can insert themselves into the wireless connection between you and the host of the free connection. Once they have successfully inserted themselves into the connection, they can harvest your transmissions, picking up the network packets that contain account passwords, e-mail, back account information, etc. It is recommended that you use a commercial VPN service provider to protect all of your traffic when you are using free Wi-Fi networks. Costs for these commercial services start at a few dollars a month, but you can always try a free service to see how you like it. A secure VPN provides an additional layer of security that is extremely difficult to defeat unless the hacker is extremely determined.
A determined hacked can probably defeat your basic efforts to secure a wireless signal, but 99% of the time you just have to be a difficult target. When you are attacked by a bear, you don’t have to be the fastest runner, just fast than the friends around you. A similar thing can be said for Wi-Fi security. You don’t have to be the most secure user on the network, you just have to be more secure than those people around you at the time.