reprinted with permission from the HP Small Business Center
Why wireless security?
When you have a wireless network, you need to make sure it's kept secure. An unencrypted network presents the potential for security breaches.
Wireless technologies that provide long-range connectivity can't be contained within an office. When you use a network that's not secure, hackers could potentially "capture" the information you're sending back and forth. This means passwords, records, and more.
Isn't my network already secure?
With some older wireless technologies, like Bluetooth, access is limited by physical proximity to the corporate network. However, wireless technologies that provide long-range connectivity, such as 802.11n, can't be contained within an office space. That means anyone within range of a non-secure network can gain access.
What happens if I don't secure my network?
It may seem harmless to offer your network's access to outside users, but it's more than just letting people surf the Internet for free or accidentally send print jobs to your printer. There are actual hazards:
Basic wireless security: Encryption
When it comes to wireless security, encrypting your network is the most important security measure—it also may be the only measure you need. Whether sending confidential documents to the Internet or to your printer, encryption will scramble this information to outsiders.
What is encryption?
All of your wireless devices, including wireless printers, connect to your computer through your wireless router. When you encrypt your network, the information transmitted to and from your router is scrambled, making your network's information unreadable to outsiders.
How do I encrypt my network?
Encryption means creating a difficult network password, also known as an encryption code or passphrase. Note that there are many methods of encryption, though not all of them are secure.
Read on to learn which encryption methods are secure and how to create a strong password.
Types of encryption
There are many methods of encryption, though not all of them are secure.
You might also consider upgrading your printer. Remember, though, while using WEP is not encouraged, WEP encryption is better than no encryption.
To create a WEP password: Make a case-sensitive password using 10-58 digits (use the numbers 0-9 and the letters A-F).
is generally one grouping of letters, numbers, and/or punctuation without spaces. Example: p@ssw0rrd
A passphrase is a string of grouped letters, numbers, and/or punctuation (almost like a sentence), including spaces, longer than anyone could reasonably remember. Example: +hI$ 1s An 3xAmpLe 0F @ Ba$iC pa$sPhRa$3!
To create a WPA or WPA2 password or passphrase: Make a case-sensitive password using at least 13 characters, including upper- and lowercase letters, punctuation, and numbers. If using a passphrase, include spaces.
Tip: By including spaces, a passphrase is much harder to break than a password. There are many online sites that can generate random passwords for you.