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Wireless Network Protection

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Wireless Networks

Wireless networks function similarly to other networks in that they connect a number of computers together, and in most cases to a single Internet connection. With the growth of broadband Internet connections for home users, and an increase in the number of PCs in a single household, the need to connect all of these machines together and to the Internet has grown as well.

Wireless home networks are typically unnecessary for a single computer that is within a very close range to the Internet connection or phone jack. But in the case of a large family with desktop and laptop PCs scattered around the house, or a large house with a computer system that is distanced from an Internet connection, wireless home networks become very useful because they avoid the unsightly mess of wires strewn about.

Wireless networks operate much like cellular phones or two-way radios by translating between binary (ones and zeros) data that machines understand, and radio signals that are transmitted through the airwaves. However, without taking the proper security measures, wireless networks can expose your Internet connection and personal data to unscrupulous hackers and thieves.

A wireless network is typically achieved by connecting a broadband Internet connection to a wireless router, which broadcasts the connection to PCs with a wireless networking card installed. If the signal is being broadcast openly, without a password, encryption or restrictions, an unauthorized user could gain access to both the connection itself, as well as the PCs using the connection.

Wireless Home Network Protection

The best way to protect your wireless home network is with encryption such as Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), or by restricting access to the unique Media Access Control (MAC) addresses of specific machines. WPA and WEP encryption uses a 128-bit password to keep out intruders, while a MAC filter compares the unique identity of an attempted connection with a list of accepted identities. In both cases, if a user’s information does not match up, they are restricted from accessing the wireless network.

It is important to keep out unverified users because broadband Internet connections only provide a limited amount of bandwidth, which can easily become congested with too many users. Along with a decrease in performance, an unsecured home network also exposes your Internet activity and files to anyone who happens to connect. By connecting to wireless networks that aren’t secure, attackers can monitor the Internet traffic flowing through the network, and also gain easy access to the data files stored on the networked PCs.

Wireless Network Protection with McAfee Total Protection

McAfee Total Protection provides comprehensive protection and security for your PC at public Wi-Fi hotspots and your wireless home network. McAfee Total Protection utilizes a multi-layered approach to wireless (Wi-Fi) network protection:

McAfee Total Protection

  • Blocks hackers from attacking your Wi-Fi network.
  • Encrypts personal information and transactions sent across your wireless network.
  • Utilizes automatic security key rotation to thwart even the most determined attacks.
  • Eliminates the hassles of networking by making sharing files and printers easy.
  • Full protection blocks wireless intruders from stealing data, initiating attacks such as Evil Twin, installing unwanted programs, or illegally downloading copyrighted content using your identity.
  • Simplifies security with the new McAfee Network Manager and improved McAfee SecurityCenter.
  • Built-In industry standard support for the latest and most popular brands of wireless routers and access points from brands including Linksys, NETGEAR, D-Link, Belkin and others.

McAfee Total Protection offers 12-in-1 prevention and protection for your identity, children online, PC, and online experience. Learn more about McAfee Total Protection with SiteAdvisor Plus.

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