Wireless Network Users face the risk of unknown/unwanted individuals gaining access to their private files, information and photos on the network. This could lead to unfortunate circumstances when someone who is able to receive the signal from your network indulges in illegal acts such as identity theft.
One way to protect you from this risk and such attacks is to set up a ‘security passphrase or key’. This way you can prevent unauthorized access to your network by anyone picking up your network signals. Encrypting data exchanged on the network is also another way to protect your network.
To set a security key, use the ‘Wizard for setting up a new Network’
- Click Start, open Control Panel, and then type in “network” in the search box –– click on Network and Sharing Center, and then click on “Set up a new network or connection
Take note that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) is considerably more secure than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). If WPA or WPA2 doesn’t work, then it is suggested that you upgrade your network adapter that works with WPA or WPA2. All your devices, including router, computer and access points must also support WPA/WPA2.
Encryption techniques for wireless
There are three types of wireless network encryption: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) and 802.1x.
Wi‑Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2)
WPA/WPA2 asks users to provide a security key, which once validated will encrypt all the data transmitted between your PC and the router.
There are primarily two types of WPA authentication, WPA and WPA2. Most experts recommend WPA as it is effectively more secure.
Users of WPA – Personal and WPA2 – Personal are given the same security key and is the recommended method for home networks while WPA-Enterprise and WPA 2- Enterprise are designed are used with an 802.1x providing distinct keys to each individual user. This mode is usually used in work networks
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
WEP is not a recommended option however this mode is still available to support old devices. To enable WEP you need to create a security key, which will encrypt all the information that one PC transmits to another PC across your network.
There are two kinds of WEP: open system authentication and shared key authentication. New Windows versions does not support automatic creation of network using WEP shared Key authentication as it is one of the least secure option .
To create a network profile using WEP
- Click ‘Start’, open control panel, type in ‘Network and Sharing Center’ in the search box and then click Network and Sharing Center.
- Click “Set up a new connection or network”
- Click “Manually connect to a wireless network, followed by “Next”
- On the “Enter information” for the wireless network you wish to add, under ‘Security
- Type” click WEP, complete the remaining page and click “Next”
- Click “Change connection settings”, click the “Security Tab”, and click “shared” under “Security type”
- Click “OK”, followed by “CLOSE”