Information on Wireless Connections Please?

  23790954 18:37 11 Feb 2010

Hello there to all you good forum members again.
Although I am in my 70's, I still like to learn and put such knowledge into use.
I am presently using a wired router for connecting to the internet. Make Netgear DG834Gv3. It can be used wirelessly.
I was using this wirelessly, about 18 months ago, but due to the fact that some finances went missing, and reported as being used in America, I reverted back to the wired router.
I would like to revert back to a wireless connection, but would like these queries answered before doing so:-
Is it only hackers who are in the immediate area who can gain access to your network, or is it hackers who are anywhere, no matter where.
Is there a difference in the security of various wireless routers, or do all wireless routers have much the same security. e.g. Would I be more secure using a router other than my Netgear 834g.
And finally, with all the WPA2, passwords etc in use, HOW secure really is a wireless internet connection.
Thanks for all advice given.

  tullie 18:41 11 Feb 2010

You do have an av and firewall installed?

  mgmcc 20:41 11 Feb 2010

What you have to protect against is people within "radio range" of your wireless network connecting to it. To safeguard against these unwanted connections you should use WPA or, preferably, WPA2 encryption. Additionally, you can enable "MAC Address filtering", so that only those adapters whose MAC address (Media Access Control address) has been entered into the router's settings can connect to it.

The encryption protocols - WEP, WPA, WPA2 - are universal, not related to particular brands of router. WEP is an old type of encryption which isn't particularly secure and should only be used as a last resort if WPA isn't supported. If your router and wireless adapters support WPA2 then that is what should be used.

  23790954 12:56 12 Feb 2010

Many thanks for that information tullie & mgmcc.
Yes I do have antivirus and firewall installed on my system.
mgmcc can I take it from your information, that following your advice about WAP2, that no-one from outside a certain area, can actually hack into my data.
Using a wireless connection would avoid a lot of messing around, when I am workng on other systems,
but as I said in my initial post, about 2 years ago, my credit card details were used unlawfully in American Hotel, a place I have never been.
I have to ensure this does not happen again.
Many thanks for any further input.

  mgmcc 13:58 12 Feb 2010

Using WPA2 encryption and MAC address filtering should make the wireless connection to your router almost as secure as a "wired" ethernet connection.

However, you should also run a software firewall in the PC to prevent being hacked by unauthorised connections from the internet.

  23790954 17:31 12 Feb 2010

Many thanks for your help mgmcc.

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