How can I secure my wireless network from my neighbor?

wendy Bartlett December 15, 2011

I have a shady neighbor who I think deliberately leaves an unsecured connection always on. He might have that sheep thing that you can use to collect passwords. How can I set up my wireless connection, if it is unsecured, to have password? And how can I make sure that he can’t grab my password?

  1. Anonymous
    December 16, 2011 at 8:54 am

    depends you is paying the Bill, if is your neighbor then you have to ask permission.

    you can add Antilogger Zentimo, to find out who is monitoring the pc.

  2. Richard Carpenter
    December 16, 2011 at 7:20 am

    If you are using his internet, which is illegal..., you can use a VPN program to encrypt your internet from prying eyes. I recommend OpenVpn. While running OpenVPN, your internet will be slightly slower, but it will increase your security immensely. 

    If you have your own internet, and your own wireless access point, you can secure it by enabling security in the way of a network key. If you are using your neighbors internet, he can see everything you do via WireShark and several other programs.  
    You will have to know the IP address of your Access point, and the quickest way to find out is via command prompt while connected to your wifi.1. Click Start2. Click Run ( Windows 7 or Vista skip this step)3. Type "CMD"4. In the black box type "ipconfig"Now the Default Gateway will be the IP we will need. From here type the IP from the IP configs Default Gateway into your internet browser. From here you will need the password to get into your router, If probably set to the default. This will vary by make and model number of your wireless access point. If you don't have the password it my be on the bottom of the access point or we can find it online once we have the make and model. If the defualt password does not work, resetting the access point, with the button on the bottom or back, or reset the password back to default.If you have that, The settings you will need are probably going to be listed under Security. But the screen you will see also vary by make and model.The best settings will be WPA2, Which is really secure, unless your password is guessable, keep that in mind.

  3. Susendeep Dutta
    December 16, 2011 at 7:06 am

    [edited by moderator]

    Instructions here:

    • Jeff Fabish
      December 16, 2011 at 8:13 am

      Mmm, copy pasta. Please give credits to Wikihow the page you copy & pasted this from, or otherwise just link to the page. MakeUseOf can get in trouble for plagiarism because of this.

      Thanks! (:

      • James Bruce
        December 16, 2011 at 9:25 am

        Thanks for noticing Jeff, I replaced with the link instead. I really dont like dealing with DMCA complaints, especially when theyre actually valid. 

        • Susendeep Dutta
          December 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm

          @Jeff_Fabish:disqus @muo_jamesbruce:disqus :-I apologize for this as I didn't know that my action will put MUO at risk.

          In future,I will definetly add source websites at the bottom of every answer I'll use to answer.

        • Jay
          December 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

          And it is also about copying and pasting the exact text.
          Technically, we have to use our own words, as much as possible.
          even if we display source link in the comment.

        • Susendeep Dutta
          December 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

          @Jeff_Fabish:disqus @13jay:disqus @muo_jamesbruce:disqus  : - OK.I'll also modify the text fully and it'll be fully my own words.

        • Aibek
          December 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

          good point!

        • Jay
          December 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

          And it is also about copying and pasting the exact text.
          Technically, we have to use our own words, as much as possible.
          even if we display source link in the comment.

        • Jay
          December 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

          And it is also about copying and pasting the exact text.
          Technically, we have to use our own words, as much as possible.
          even if we display source link in the comment.

      • Tina
        December 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

        Thanks for the catch, Jeff!

  4. Jay
    December 16, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Use https wherever possible.

    eg. gmail and facebook.
    Never set your browser to remember password to be sure.

    Sessions can be hacked, not the passwords even if you don't secure your wifi.

    Change the default router password.

  5. Jeff Fabish
    December 16, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Hi Wendy,

    What router make & model do you have? It should say on the router. This will help me inform you about router-specific features you can enable.

    Generally speaking though, you should create a strong administrator password. To do this, log into your router's administration panel. You may find the address of your router by going to Start -> Search/Run and type "cmd.exe" without quotes. That will launch a command prompt, when it appears type "ipconfig /all". It will display data about all your network adapters, search for the adapter your using and find "Default Gateway". It will be a four octet number (555.555.555.55), put that into the URL bar of your web browser.

    Once you do so, you will be prompted (most likely) to enter a username and password. If you haven't changed it yet, it should still be at default. For the ID try "Admin", "admin", "Administrator" or "administrator". For the password try "password", "Password", "letmein" or "LETMEIN". Those are the most common passwords, at least. If none work, letting me know which router you will will allow me to find out what it is.

    Firstly, chose a strong administrator password and pass-phrase for the router. A passphrase is what users will be forced to enter in order to connect to the router, whereas the administration password is what will be required in order to gain access to the administrators panel.

    Your password should be at least 8 characters, shouldn't contain any relevant information about you (birthdays, names, etc.). Learn more about how to create a secure password here and here. Creating a strong administrator password is the single most important thing you can do, as if he is able to gain access to your administration panel, all security is relinquished. Once you have a password in mind, one of these five password strength tools

    Next, if your router supports it - enable "Access controls", which may also be called "IP" or "Mac" filtering. This forces your router to only accept requests from 'known good' users. If a user is not on this list, they will not be allowed to user the router. You will want to find the encryption feature as well, and enable that. You may have multiple types of encryptions schemes available, do not use WEP, use WPA or any variant of WPA.

    Many routers have 'remote administration' capabilities, if you're not going to use this feature - please disable it. This allows for you to connect to your router from outside your LAN, which posses a security risk like nobodies business. This is predominately disabled by default, but be sure that it is for yours as well. While we're disabling things, change your SSID. By default, your SSID is probably the name of your router, which allows for an attacker to know instantly what your router is, subsequently he can search for vulnerabilities to that router. So first change your SSID to something else and then disable it (if possible).

    Lastly, keep Windows and your router up-to-date. Speaking of Windows, disable auto-connecting for unsecured wifi-hotspots (inside Windows, not your router). If you don't, you risk accidenctly connecting to his hotspot and not knowing it. Follow this guide to learn how to disable it. Installing a firewall will increase your security significantly as well. See our list, 'Best of - Firewall Apps' for the most popular firewalls.

    - Jeff

    December 16, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Hello, Fist thing to be done is to change the default password for accessing the configuration of your router. Make sure to use a strong password. The best thing for you do to is make sure to set your router with WPA2 encryption if available.  To do so, open the configuration page for your router and if available set the encryption to WPA2.  The router configuration changes from brand to brand.  If you have a newer router, I am pretty sure the WPA2 encryption should be available for it.  If for some reason your router is not compatible with WPA2, try to check for a firmware update for your router. Once WPA2 is enabled, make sure to set a complex password using numbers, signs, cap letters, etc.  The longer the password the better it is.  Once your router is setup like this, you will loose connection with any device attach to it, but it is easily fix by setting up the configuration in your devices with the same encryption and password you set in router.

    Another thing you can do, is to change the name for your network instead of using the default name.  I would also recommend, to change the name of the router, so that at least if somebody tries to break into your router the first thing they will have to do, is find out the brand name of it.  It is a little bit more difficult because the brand of router is unknown. 

    Another thing you can do, is enable the MAC filtering function in the router.  A MAC address is the hardware address for wireless/ethernet card.  If you set up MAC filtering, only the MAC addresses allowed by you can have access to router.  If MAC filtering is enabled, you will have to disable it to allow another device to access network, and once new device is added you can turn on MAC filtering again.

    If you are not sure how to do any of this, just post the brand name of router and we can help you set it up.  Any questions you may have, let us know.

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