Wireless network protection
Most computers come with a basic password protection to your wireless network. However, there are many other types of software you can download to protect yourself even more.
Microsoft Windows typically comes with a basic network protection. Microsoft has implemented several features. Windows does have a basic default setting that blocks certain cookies and other things from installing on your computer. You can always up the default settings if you feel they are not meeting your security needs.
Another popular tool is WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access. WPA provides a strong encryption where the encryption keys are automatically changed and authenticated between devices after a specified period of time. This re-keying provides a stronger protection for your computer. You will need to purchase a wireless network router that supports WPA.
Business wireless network protection - If you are a company making sure you are protected, check with your IT team. Your IT staff should be configuring every wireless device on your enterprise network. Usually you will have an administrator that is in charge of the configuring WPA by using an authenticated server.
Why do you need wireless network protection?
Are you helping criminals? Criminals typically look for unprotected Wi-Fi networks in order to do something illegal and have it tracked to you. Police have tracked numerous cases involving serious crimes from identity theft to sexual solicitation of children.
Data Breech. If you have one small poorly protected access point, a hacker will find it. Credit card information has been stolen before from large retail stores and if your company isn't protected, you could be paying quite a lot of money after the fact.
The Recording Industry. By now, you have probably heard the government and recording industry is cracking down on illegal copyrighted downloads. If someone has illegally downloaded files and set it up as stolen from your network, you will be answering to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
Bandwidth. If someone is piggybacking on your network, it's most likely bogging down your download speeds. You don't want to wait 5 hours for a download that should take less than 5 minutes.
Protect your privacy. Do you want the world knowing all your personal information? The answer is most likely no. If you store any personal or financial records on a PC, they are at risk for being stolen and someone charging up a bunch of money to your credit cards.