Here are some resources for keeping your wireless connection secure:
Use a firewall
A firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Basically, it controls internet traffic to and from your computer so that only authorized traffic gets through.
A firewall is strongly advised, especially when using public hot spots, which are not encrypted (meaning anyone with a wi-fi card can get onto the network).
- Windows XP users can take advantage of the built-in Internet Connection Firewall. Click here for instructions on enabling this feature. Microsoft also offers this handy guide to home computing security in general.
- Firewall software can also be purchased online from reputable security companies. Some examples are:
Enable WEP encryption
While a firewall will protect individual computers on your network or on a public hot spot, using wired equivalent privacy, or WEP, on your home wireless network (as well as other encryption features your hardware may offer) provides more security. If your network is not encrypted, it's open to anyone within range to use it to connect to the internet, which also makes it easier for hackers to get into individual machines.
The process to enable WEP and other encryptions varies depending on your wireless hardware. Consult the documentation from hardware vendor. Here are some links to some popular vendors' security documentation online: