Sure that wireless signal is great for connecting all the Web-enabled devices in your home, but do you know who's really using it? If you live in a house in the middle of nowhere, you're probably the only one using your wireless router. If you live in an urban area, an apartment building or in any home with a street out front, people could be stealing your wireless signal.
Who Steals Wireless?
Some wireless thieves are simply opportunists. Your next-door neighbor turns on a laptop and finds your unsecured wireless network. She starts sending e-mail and visiting her favorite Web sites. Why pay for her own connection when she's got yours for free? If you live near a coffee shop or restaurant, people could be borrowing your wireless, thinking that it's free.
Users like this generally don't pose a threat to your data, but their online meanderings could leave you with malware and viruses on your network. If your Internet provider caps your monthly data use, you'll wind up paying for all that extra Web browsing and e-mail.
The second type of wireless thief is far more malicious. This is the person who actively looks for unsecured wireless networks, then uses them to upload viruses, download illegal content or steal your personal information. If the freeloading neighbors are ants at a picnic, these people are the wasps, and you're allergic. Once somebody has access to your wireless network, they have access to all the computers on it. A motivated hacker can quickly figure out your passwords and start stealing personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Securing Your Network
The first rule to remember is that your wireless signal doesn't end at your door. Depending on the type of router you have, your wireless signal could be available up to 300 feet away from your home. If you live in an apartment or condominium, assume that everyone in the building has access to your network. Keeping unauthorized users out needs to be your first priority.
Fortunately, your wireless router has built-in security features to keep dangerous users away. These features only work if you use them properly, so follow these tips whenever you install a new router, and check them off for an existing installation:
Knowing how to install a Netgear wireless router can help you set up a wireless Internet connection that is better protected from hackers.
Looking to purchase your first wireless router? Everywhere you turn, there's different views, different opinions and conflicting information. Does anyone know what they're talking about and are the differences in wireless routers really so vast?