Consumer Protection

WiFi encryption


Advances in wireless Internet allow us to surf the web from any room in our house, on a myriad of computers and mobile devices. Consumers must be vigilant about WiFi encryption, which protects in two ways. First, an encrypted WiFi network prevents others from viewing information you are sending and receiving. It helps protect private information such as account logins, passwords and credit card numbers. Second, it protects your network from piggybacking by unauthorized users. Two main types of encryption are available: WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). The computer must use the same encryption as the router and other equipment. WPA is the strongest encryption currently available.

Tips:

  • Consumers with wireless Internet routers at home should activate encryption features on those routers to make sure that other users cannot access your network and eavesdrop on your communications.
  • Consult your wireless router manual to learn how to turn on the encryption feature.
  • Most routers use a standard name and password when shipped from the factory. Hackers know these default passwords, which lets them access your network. You should change the default network name and password to prevent hackers from using the default password. The hardware identifier and preset password of a router should be changed so the defaults cannot be used in an attempt to access your home network.
  • Piggybacking users could access illegal materials, or conduct large downloads that slow down your network.
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