events have conspired and inspired me to comment on the current state of home
network security, at least in the Louisville, KY suburbs where I was born,
raised and still reside.
event was the installation of a wireless network in my own home. We have had a
home network for years (yes, I am a computer geek) using twisted-pair Ethernet
cables strung between rooms under carpets, in floorboards, and between walls.
The recent addition of a laptop to the growing family of gadgets and PCs at
home was the last straw no more wires. Setting up a wireless network at home
is deceptively easy plug in the wireless router and turn it on and BINGO!
you are surfing the Web. Of course, anyone within range could surf the Web
through your router with you.
good little paranoid computer geek, I immediately went through the process of locking
down my new wireless network: No broadcasting of the SSID, specifying
approved MAC addresses, implementing the 128-bit WEP encryption protocol, etc.
I know this setup is not foolproof, but it will adequately protect me from all
but the most determined intruders.
this modest level of security is not the norm; at least it appears that way
when I can detect so many unsecured wireless networks in my area. This leads me
to the second event publishing a chapter from The
Symantec Guide to Home Internet Security. This book lays out the ins and
outs of home internet security in plain English. But the principles it lays out
seem to be falling on deaf ears.
a little background research for the download on the FTC Web site
I saw the grim statistics that show increasing Internet related fraud, identity
theft, and other criminal activities. This leads me to wonder if the majority
of wireless routers put into service on home networks are just turned on in the
default mode. As IT professionals, I predict that the vast majority of the
TechRepublic community has not made this mistake, but what about your
neighbors? Do you detect many open wireless networks in your area? As members
of the larger Internet community, shouldn't we be concerned about this?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.