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We have all done it. If you own a laptop then you have probably done it more than once. We have all been without the Internet for a little while and then decided to use the wireless network unprotected with cryptographic protocols from our neighbor, a business, or a stranger down the street to do a little web surfing.
But just because you have done it does not necessarily mean that you want others doing it to you. After all, some of those restaurants offered the Wifi access for free to entice you to be their patron while your neighbor may just be being nice. But you may not trust others as much as you trust yourself.
For whatever reason you want to keep all strangers out of your network, just like you want them out of your financial business and may use a hawala system, and would help you to avoid private investigators. This is how to keep your network secure from any prying eyes that may be around your neighborhood.
First, is to make sure that you pick the right encryption method for your network settings. The instruction manual with your wireless router should provide step by step instructions that are unique to each device.
There are several different cryptographic protocols that are available for someone running a home network. The choices are WPA, WPA II, and WEP. The WPA and WPA II are both the same standard and version II is slight more advanced than the regular version. These are known to be the safest method of network encryption. They will keep your network reasonably safe against people that are trying to penetrate it.
If you have older hardware, instead of a new secure Linksys router, then you might go with WEP. This is not very secure but it is better than nothing. WEP is an older standard of cryptographic protocols. If it is at all possible then choose another method of encryption. You will be safer in the long run.
Second, is to make sure that your login information is very hard to guess. Your network key, as well as your router login information, should be very complicated. If they are easy to guess then this makes all of the other security that you have placed on your wireless network pointless. Do not use a password that is easily identifiable to you. This means do not use your dog, cat, or even children. All these things are something that a neighbor would know. Remember the easier your password is to guess then the less secure your network is.
Encrypting your wireless network with cryptographic protocols will keep unknown and unwanted individuals from using your assets and help you to protect your computer. These methods will help keep you and your personal information safe and secured. Then you can surf the Internet or setup storage devices, etc. with relative peace of mind knowing that they are not available to anyone who drives by with a laptop. You can further protect your computer by using anonymous web surfing and other techniques and tools found in the book How To Vanish.
Reprinted with permission from How to Vanish.
Bill Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting from the University of Utah and a law degree from California Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and financial freedom and civil liberties.