It’s great having a wireless network so that you can sit anywhere in the house and use your internet. There’s one catch, though. If you don’t secure it, you can end up with a big bag of hurt.
There are plenty of insecure wireless networks around the place. People feed on these - they go around “leeching” off these insecure networks, blowing people’s quotas and even getting up to illegal activities. But there’s one other thing that people don’t think about, and that’s identity theft.
So, you’re sitting here, reading this, and thinking “identity theft, how?”. Well, it’s very simple. When a person sets up a wireless network that is insecure, they more than likely leave the default password on their router. Any man and his dog can find out the person’s router address from the IP address that their computer is assigned, so can look up the manual on the net to find out the default password. Once in the router’s configuration page, they are free to see the settings on the configuration page. There is the person’s internet username, plus their password (I won’t say how the latter is obtained, but it’s easy enough). This is where the trouble really begins.
The internet connection’s IP address may be looked up on the status page of the router, and then looked up on any IP address lookup site on the net to determine the ISP. Once this is known, the malicious user can then log into the ISP’s account page with the stolen credentials, find that person’s name, address, phone number, and any other private information stored there. The malicious user can then use this information for criminal activity, etc.
So as you can see, it is a really bad idea to have an insecure wireless network. My advice to you is to read up in your router’s manual how you can secure your network, and if you don’t want to bother with that, at least change the password on your router to something other than the default (this will at least keep people from finding your username and password for your internet, but it won’t keep people from leeching or accessing files on your computers). Once you have secured your network, tell your operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X) what security you are using and the new password. Then you can sleep soundly knowing that your private information is safe.
There is plenty of information about securing wireless networks. Below are some links that can help you:
I hope this info is helpful to you.