The IT Service desk

A casual drive through East Campus with a wireless laptop or PDA will make one thing clear; quite a few staff, faculty and students have set up wireless networks in their homes. The scary thing is that if you take a close look at many of these networks you will discover that some people don't know how to properly secure them.

A May 2004 Associated Press article detailed an 800-mile drive in the San Jose area in which over 3,600 wireless access points were detected. According to the article, nearly 40 percent of those networks were completely wide-open.

CSUMB does not provide wireless service in East Campus, so if you have been getting wireless service at your house, it is probably from an un-protected wireless network in your neighborhood.

Why should I care?

1) Privacy: If you share folders across your home network, someone accessing that network through your wireless network can have access to all of your documents.

2) Security: Someone with anonymous access to your unprotected wireless network can surf the Web and go anywhere they wish without the fear of someone finding out who they are. They could also send 1,000's of Spam messages from your network, send out computer viruses, or try to hack into systems all over the world. If this happens, your cable modem will be turned off because there is no way for us to know who caused the problem.

What can I do?

Most wireless routers offer security options and information on how to enable security and protect your home wireless network. According to Linksys, there are four steps you should take to secure your wireless network:

1. Change the default SSID (network name)
2. Disable the SSID broadcast option
3. Change the default password needed to access and manage your wireless access point
4. Enable MAC address filtering (this limits who can connect)

To learn more about these steps, visit the Linksys Wireless Security website.

Have questions about how to setup a home wireless network? Contact you Wireless Router manufacturer. Popular wireless vendor websites:

IT@CSUMB.EDU does not support or install home wireless networking.