How to Restrict Access to a Wireless Network

By Techwalla Contributor

Along with the convenience of wireless networks are the risks of identity theft and other security risks. But you can set up your wireless connection and protect it, your identity and personal data.

Things You'll Need

  • Have your computer or laptop handy so you can set up information as you follow along.

Step 1

Change your wireless router's default password. To do so, log on to your administrator screen and select the "Wireless" tab. In the dialog that appears, change your wireless network name to something different that only you will know it. In the Wireless SSID broadcast section, click the "Disable" button. This will keep your router from broadcasting your router to potential intruders.

Step 2

Your router is now invisible to passers by, but also to whomever would be using it. If at home or work, you need to indicate to your computer which network to use. On each PC, click on the "Wireless network" icon in the Windows System Tray and then click on the "View wireless networks" button. Click on the "Change Advanced Settings" button, and then click on the "Wireless Networks" tab. Click on the "Add" button and type in the name of the network you want to use (this is the name you previously changed your wireless network name). Click "OK." You are subsequently connected to your wireless network.

Step 3

Encrypt your wireless network. Two encryption types included with most routers are Wireless Equivalent Protocol (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). The WPA is newer and more secure than the older WEP, but either one will protect your network. Make sure your computer and wireless supporter support the same encryption protocol before using it.

Step 4

Use a firewall to protect your network. Once implemented, the firewall will prevent a hacker from accessing the information on your computer. However, it won't protect against email viruses or phishing scams. Thus, you'll still need anti-virus software installed.The Windows firewall is automatically turned on, but it will not block outbound connections. You can access free firewall software online or purchase one for your personal use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you periodically change your passwords for added protection.
  • If you feel that your system is unsafe, contact your wireless company for more information on what products you can use to help keep your wireless network safe.