The University of Texas at Austin

Security Awareness

Stay Safe on Your Home Wireless Network

Get the basics on protecting your wireless set-up at home.
If you live off campus, you might use a home wireless system. If you do, there are certain security risks to keep in mind. Wireless networks are inherently open, and they have ill-defined boundaries. This means they can extend beyond the walls of your apartment or house, and your neighbors can easily use your network unless you put a few simple security measures in place. Once they’re on your network, they can view and steal any information you send across the wireless network. They could also use it to illegally download and share files. Keeping them off is the best way for you to stay safe and legal.

To protect your wireless network, and keep your identity and information secure, follow these tips:

  • Use the management software to see if anyone else is connecting to your network (you can see everyone who is connected).
  • Change default passwords when you install a wireless network.
  • Limit who has access to your wireless network by requiring a password or restrict it to specific computers using the MAC address.
  • Turn on the most powerful encryption option provided by the manufacturer.
  • Install and update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software regularly.
  • Run a full scan on your computer regularly to detect any problems.
  • Remember to turn your network off when you aren’t using it.

To learn more about securing your wireless network, go to OnGuard Online, the federal government’s Web site on Internet security.