Can Your Wireless Network Lead to Identity Theft?

What You Need to Know About Identity Theft and Your Home Wireless Network

Wireless networks in our homes have made multi-PC Internet access much easier and much more affordable. They've also opened the door to identity theft. While that wireless network in your home may seem like the neatest thing since sliced bread, it may actually be your worst nightmare waiting to happen if it's not set up properly. Here are some things you need to know.

If Your Network Isn't Secured, Your Info Isn't Either

If you have a wireless network in your home and it isn't secured, you're putting yourself at significant risk of identity theft. Would you let a criminal into your home to see everything on your computer? Of course not. But that's exactly what you're doing if you have an unsecured wireless network.

Things You Need to Do

If you're one of the many consumers who have wireless networks in your home, there are some things you have to do to protect yourself from identity theft.

First and foremost, make sure all of your wireless LAN devices are secure and you need to monitor your network for unauthorized access. Monitoring your network is rather easy - there are many network security programs that can do it for you. Getting it secure is another story.

Securing Your Network

The first thing you need to do is activate your router's encryption. Many wireless routers come with encryption turned off so you'll need to follow your manufacturer's instructions to turn it on. Once your encryption is on, turn your SSID off. This will hide your network from "sniffers" who might exploit your network for identity theft purposes. You'll also want to disable remote administration. This will prevent hackers from altering your network security settings.

A firewall is also critical, and just having one sitting there on your system isn't enough. It needs to be turned on to do any good.

If you're not technically savvy enough to do these things yourself, contact your local "nerd herd" outfit. Companies like Geek Squad can help secure your wireless network for you, greatly reducing your risk of identity theft for a relatively small investment.

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