Net­work­ing myths dis­spelled


Save en­ergy by turn­ing off your router

A mo­dem-router is de­signed to be left on 24/7. Switch­ing yours off may save a small amount of power, but when you switch it back on it will take time to rene­go­ti­ate your down­load and up­load speeds. Leave it on for fast, sta­ble per­for­mance.

Hide your network’s SSID

It’s said dis­abling the broad­cast of the SSID (the network’s name) can help to se­cure your network, but network traf­fic can still be re­vealed with soft­ware that de­tects it.

En­able MAC ad­dress fil­ter­ing

It also seems a good idea to restrict ac­cess to your network to known de­vices, iden­ti­fied by their MAC ad­dresses. But hack­ers can easily scan for and ‘spoof’ them.

Free Wi-Fi hotspots are danger­ous

Not true. The key thing is whether the hotspot has en­cryp­tion ap­plied and that it’s WPA2-PSK. If it is, it’s rea­son­ably safe to use. How­ever…

En­crypted Wi-Fi hotspots are safe

Not quite, given the KRACKS vul­ner­a­bil­ity (see the next page). When on pub­lic Wi-Fi, dis­able all ser­vices in Sys­tem Prefs’ Shar­ing pane be­fore con­nect­ing, and use a Vir­tual Pri­vate Network (VPN) such as or Tun­nelBear to add an ex­tra layer of en­cryp­tion.

Avoid us­ing any wire­less hotspot that doesn’t have a pad­lock at the right end of its row — it’s too risky.

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