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Take Control of Your Wi-Fi Security
Nov 10, 2010

Take Control of Your Wi-Fi Security

Learn how to keep intruders out of your wireless network and protect your sensitive communications!

This ebook is old! Unless you’re looking for a history lesson, you probably don’t want to buy this ebook.

It’s ten o’clock—do you know who’s using your wireless network? If you haven’t turned on network security, someone could be eavesdropping on your email, plucking your Web and email passwords out of the air, or sending spam through your Internet connection right now! When you’re using a wireless network—whether from a Macintosh with AirPort gear, Windows with any Wi-Fi equipment, or any portable handheld device— you’re exposed to risk unless you take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

More Info

Wireless networking experts Glenn Fleishman and Adam Engst have spent years covering wireless security on Glenn’s Wi-Fi Networking News blog and in two editions of The Wireless Networking Starter Kit. Now they’ve distilled that experience into this essential guide for anyone using wireless networks, whether at home, at work, or on the road. You’ll learn how to evaluate your real security risks; the best way to restrict access to your network; how to secure your data in transit with SSL/TLS, SSH, and VPNs; and how to avoid viruses and attacks. The book provides extra advice on how to secure a small-office wireless network, including setting up 802.1X for secure Wi-Fi logins.

"The authors, two guys with enormous geek credibility, take the confusing tangle of Wi-Fi security issues and break it down for you in plain language. The book is a marvel of excellent technical writing for a general audience."
    —Barry Campbell on

Read this book to learn the answers to questions like:

  • Should I worry about someone eavesdropping on my home wireless network?
  • What three security measures should I take immediately to lock down my wireless gateway?
  • What common security measures aren’t worthwhile?
  • Why is WEP not worth bothering with, and what should I use instead?
  • How do I set up guest networking on newer AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models?
  • How do I set up WPS on Apple and non-Apple gear?
  • What does it mean if I see green shading in my browser’s URL field?
  • Do I need a VPN to protect my sensitive work communications?
  • What is sidejacking, and what should I do about it?
  • Can I control access to my wireless network by user name and password?
  • What software can I use for secure email and file transfer?
  • How does public-key encryption work?
  • Our office has only 15 people—can we afford the best Wi-Fi security?

I have a wireless router connected to cable modem, but my router isn’t from Apple. Will this book help me set up WPA2 (or WPA) security on my wireless network?

The book does explain how to set up WPA2 security, but we don’t provide specific instructions for each router, since there are a wide variety of slightly different interfaces. The details we offer should be enough to make your router work, and we do include step-by-step setup directions for Mac OS X, Windows XP, and Windows Vista for configuring WPA2 connections to a router that uses WPA2 encryption.

Update Plans

November 16, 2012 – We don’t plan to update this ebook. This ebook has lived a good life but is now moving to the obsolete category. Here’s co-author Glenn Fleishman’s take on the situation…

Several chapters are aging rapidly:

  • Determine Your Security Risk: This chapter seems quaint now, as people generally know why to freak out (if not specifically what’s at risk). A lot of at-risk things have been switched to default to secure methods, too (Twitter, most email, etc.).

  • Secure Your Data in Transit: Full of a lot of information that people don’t really need any more. Also, the level of detail at which we explain SSH, public key cryptography, and SSL/TLS seems entirely unnecessary now.

  • Protect Your Systems: Very out of date on NAT (which I no longer consider even a passive protection) and firewalls. Also, it does not cover full-disk encryption, as it wasn’t a viable option for Mac until recently.

  • Small Office Wi-Fi: Isn’t bad, but it’s got a lot more detail than is needed now. 802.1X, for instance, if it works, it just works, and you don’t need to know that.

Posted by Tonya Engst

The Author

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, the New York Times, Wired, the Atlantic, and the Economist. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

The Author

Adam C. Engst is the publisher of TidBITS and the TidBITS Content Network. He has written numerous technical books, including Take Control of Preview and the best-selling Internet Starter Kit series, and many magazine articles—thanks to Contributing Editor positions at MacUser, MacWEEK, and Macworld. He has been turned into an action figure.