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Chapter 18. Securing Your Wi-Fi Network > What Steps Should You Take? - Pg. 293

Securing Your Wi-Fi Network 293 Of course, most penetration is relatively innocent and is done to obtain Internet access. Yes, the nefarious evildoer just might not have Internet access and want to piggyback (without paying) on yours. Before you throw up your hands and say, "I don't care. I'm happy to share my Internet connection: it's not going to cost me any more. Besides, sharing is in the spirit of open source, Wi-Fi, and all those good things," you should think about a couple of ramifications. By sharing your Internet access in this way, you are probably in violation of your agreement with your ISP. Okay, so I don't care much about this technicality either. But if some real nefarious evildoer does use your ISP account to launch a Web attack--using a virus or a denial of service campaign --you could be held responsible. At the very least, it could lead to the ISP shutting down your account. Also, if others are using your Internet connection, there's no doubt your connection speed will slow. I don't know about you, but even broadband isn't fast enough for me. I don't want free- loaders gumming up the works even more. File-Sharing Risks Concerns about losing bandwidth are particularly valid in the case of file sharers. Another concern in this respect is that file sharers are almost certainly trading in copyrighted information (songs), and the person who is the owner of the connection to the Internet is the one who the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is going to track down. Child pornography is a lesser concern simply because fewer people traffic in that, but it's still something to think about. In other words, if you leave your network open, you might be liable (both civilly and criminally) for the actions of freeloaders who use it, as well as the somewhat lesser issue of suffering from diminished bandwidth. Before you say it's okay with you to have others use your Internet connection because it doesn't cost you anything more, think about whether you would leave the front door to your house open with a note saying, "Come in; use the phone: Local and long distance minutes are free!" What Steps Should You Take? The steps you should take depend on how important the security of your personal network is to you. Some people will feel it more important than others to implement comprehensive security measures. But some of the basic security measures you can take are easy and involve little (or no) trouble to set up and very little extra trouble on the part of network users. So everyone should take at least some security measures: · Change your network name (SSID) so that it is not the default The measures described in this section cover network security. Besides the measures explained in this chapter, you should also take steps to protect individual computers such as installing antivirus software and personal firewall software, as I explained in Chapter 17. Set your SSID not to broadcast Implement WPA-PSK security (preferably) or at least WEP Make sure that all the computers on your network are running up-to-date antivirus software Change the default administrative and user passwords in your access point Note · · · · I'll explain these steps in a little more detail in a moment, as well as what to do if your situation calls for greater security than the minimal measures provide. In other words, one key step is to develop a security game plan in the context of your own requirements for security because all serious security measures involve costs and trade-offs.