When you’re ready to setup a new router or Wi-Fi network at home, there are multiple things to keep in mind for example where to place it, the name, password, accessibility, bandwidth prioritization etc. But one important feature that almost no user compromises on is security. Most people generally forget about their router once it’s been setup and devices are connected but keeping in mind this age of technology where anyone can access anything with a range of software, keeping your router secure should be high priority.
There are a number of things to look out for when understanding Wi-Fi security. People can hack routers by sitting right outside your home and can therefore get access to not only your router but also personal data that may be stored on any device connected to the router. Routers are usually equipped with USB ports both 2.0 and 3.0, meaning that storage and other data devices can be connected and media can be shared across connected devices. This data can be under risk if your router isn’t secure. There are multiple steps that you can take in order to make sure that there are no external threats to your home network. Each step has been discussed in detail in order to give you a summary of the benefits of good security.
- Every router comes with a general username and password that can be used to log in for the first time. The standard name and password is usually the same for most routers therefore making it very susceptible to hacking if you don’t change it. Once the router has been set up, you can change the name and password from the settings tab in the browser interface.
- You can also change the network name regularly in order to make sure that your router isn’t easily picked out. Most routers have the brand name by default in their SSID, but you can personalize this and change it in order to either remove unwanted clients that may be using the router, or just making sure that your router can’t be easily found. There’s also an option to hide your SSID so that it doesn’t show up for other people, but this also means that you will have to manually connect all your devices back to the router.
- Enabling encryption is also another vital part of making sure that your Wi-Fi is secure. There are several methods present depending on what type of router you own, for example, WPA and WPA2. WPA2 is more secure but only compatible with hardware after 2006. You can access these settings under the Wireless Security tab of your router, although the name of the tab may vary from router to router.
- Most routers have an option for turning on firewall, which ultimately adds a layer of security for your internal data and information. Installing a firewall ensures that no information gets sent out without your permission.
- Installing a VPN can also be extremely useful for users that want to hide their internet traffic from preying eyes and snoopy hackers. A VPN can mask your identity and location, and sometimes even block unnecessary ads.
- Regularly updating your software is also importance since people tend to find holes and bugs in security firmware. But when developers figure these bugs out, they release an updated version of the software making sure that the issues are fixed. Make sure to regularly check your router for any updates.
- You can also keep track of who is connected to the router by filtering out unwanted MAC addresses. Each device has its own unique MAC address, which shows up under the client list in your router settings. You can blacklist unknown MAC addresses and also control DHCP requests.
- If you have a small apartment that doesn’t necessarily require a lot of signals, you can turn down the Transmit Power Control, making it harder for people outside to connect to your router.
- Physical security is also a major issue in places like work areas, offices etc. Securing your Wi-Fi network, data and information is without a doubt important to protect from unwanted visitors but making sure your router is safe is just as important. You can also turn off the WPS option, which is basically a function by which devices can be easily paired with the router by pressing a button. Using the WPS function, any device can be connected to your network if someone has physical access to your router.
- Disabling your computer’s network sharing can also be helpful since it allows your computer to share files and data with other computers on the network.
- Don’t be shy to throw your router out once it’s become old and out of date. A brand new modern router will be much better equipped to tackle security threats than an old router with old software and outdated security measures. Hackers are always evolving according to how technology progresses which is why it’s equally important to stay ahead in the game.
- If you’re not as tech savvy, feel free to seek help to add security measures to your router. Most routers come with a manual that takes you through the process step by step. In other cases, you can also contact the developer in order to better understand how your router’s security system works.
When we talk about the security of WiFi, two things are very important that play a major factor: policy management and sense of security. Policy management means that you should define access requirements for your WiFi. Who needs access to what and when? So, if you do not have a policy regarding the security of your WiFi, make one. It is extremely important to keep a check on who is accessing your WiFi so that you know whether the people accessing it are actually people that should be accessing it or are there red flags involved. Many consumers and even businesses do not have such policies and because of the lack of this, they suffer from many threats. For example, a visitor in a business who can connect to the business’ WiFi can also access all the packets (tiny blocks of information) that are moving through the network. So, if this visitor were to have access to a packet analyzer software such as WireShark, he could theoretically access all the information that are moving within these packets. Some information may not be as useful, but some information could be very critical to the business such as customer credit card numbers. This concept works both ways as well. If you connect to a WiFi, you are essentially connecting to a network of computers with many users on it and giving that network access to your device whether it be your laptop or mobile. If someone on that network isn’t a nice person and possesses the skills to hack into your phone, you are at a risk of giving away the information on your device. Why do you think Mark Zuckerberg puts a tape on his laptop? Hence, it is very important to define a clear policy on who can access your WiFi network whether it be your business or home.
The second important thing is your sense of security. There is a big difference between knowing you are not secure and thinking you are secure. The latter is much more dangerous. This is because if you know you are not secure, then you can take measures to make yourself WiFi network secure. When WiFis were first introduced, they came with a security measure called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) which wasn’t very secure and could be broken into easily. Then came WiFi Protected Access (WPA) and the best security technology right now WPA2. You can use WPA2 technology to make your WiFi more secure from threats and attackers. However, if you think you are secure when in reality you are not, then that’s much more dangerous because you are not actively working on making your WiFi secure. And someone could break into your network which you think is secure but in reality, is not. So, it is very important to have a sense of security, be responsible and actively implement security mechanism into your network. It also doesn’t hurt to monitor your network traffic from time to time to see if someone should not be doing that they are not supposed to be doing.
Security should never be compromised upon which is why most companies invest so much into making sure that their routers and software are hack-proof. But there’s a role to be played by the user as well, in making sure that he or she has a firm grip over the router’s security and enough know how on how to manage the security as well. Hopefully the above mentioned steps will help you secure your Wi-Fi and give you a better understanding of how the world of security actually works.