SimpliTek Technology Minute

. . . . take a minute to learn more about how you can use technology to make your job easier.


SimpliTek is a computer and network consulting company dedicated to helping small businesses make the most of their investment in technology. If we can be of service to you, please call or email us!


Wireless networks are the latest rage, and in the right circumstances, they can be very convenient. But they are not inherently as secure as wired networks, and if you are not careful, you can be practically inviting hackers or neighbors to log in. We run into unsecured wireless networks all the time and can easily connect, surf the Internet, look at disks and files, etc. without the owner even knowing.

However, there are four simple steps you can take which will greatly improve the security of your wireless network. If you take these four steps, you will keep out all but the most determined intruders.

1. Rename your wireless network! All wireless networks have a network name, called the SSID. Most makers of wireless routers use their company name as the default, such as Linksys or Netgear. Hackers know these names and sometimes go trolling for them, so rename your network to something harder to guess. And donít just use your last name!

2. Turn off the broadcast! Most wireless routers are set up to broadcast their network name to any computer in range. Thatís fine for Starbucks, but not very secure for you. If you turn off the broadcast, then a hacker has to guess your network name. Which hopefully youíve made hard for him. See #1.

3. Change the password of your router. Hackers know the default address, login and password of all routers out of the box. If you change the password, you make it harder for someone to get in and change your settings.

4. Get MAC to help! Every computer has a unique hard-coded address called the MAC address (this has nothing to do with Apple Macs). You can set your router to connect only to the MAC addresses of your computers, and reject all others. Since MAC addresses are hard to guess and hard to fake, this is a pretty strong security measure.

Then there is encryption, and you definitely need that if you have really private information like financial data or medical data. But for most people with ordinary data, if you take the four steps listed above, you may not need encryption.

Some hackers are like opportunistic burglars who just try doorknobs. If you make it just a little harder to break in, they may go looking for easier targets elsewhere.

If you donít know how to make these changes to your wireless network, or if you canít face logging into your router to make changes, call SimpliTek and we will help you.

If you donít, your network is an open book, and maybe somebody is reading it right now!

SimpliTek Corporation
10005 Muirlands, Suite E
Irvine, CA 92618





Return to Index of Tech Minute Articles