Today, Wi-Fi is a necessity in many of the modern homes, yet very few homeowners know what it takes to secure their connectivity. Social engineering schemes keep evolving so that they can wiggle their way into networks and be hard to detect and tough to beat, but you should not let these crafty entities have it easy with you. Put your guard up round the clock with the following:
• Change your router admin username and password
Every router is designed to have a generic username and password. Some models require the user to create a username and password during the initial access of the router. It is wise to change the generic username and password soon after access and set up the network because these are only for the public record.
Failure to change them means that anyone with similar router models can gain access to your router therein your network. Consider writing down the username and password if you are not good at remembering these; alternatively, you can factory reset the router to is original admin status that has the generic security information.
• Change the network name
Your Wi-Fi router will broadcast its SSID (Service Set Identifier) to all that can find it and wish to connect to the network. In most cases, the SSID is a generic name for your network and is often made public which make it easy for hackers to do their thing because the generic SSIC gives away the router type. If your router is called Linksys, it will use the same name for its SSID. Other routers will list the maker and model numbers such as LnksysT8990. Enhance the security of your Wi-Fi home network by giving personalizing the SSID.
The change should not be a one-time thing, route the SSID to ensure that anyone with previous access needs to get new authorization to find and gain access to your Wi-Fi. Such a move may make you be seen as a paranoid person especially if you have robust encryption in place, but that does not mean that the hacker will not try to gain access. Opting not to broadcast the SSID will need you to remember the new name every time you change it so that you can give access to all the devices (TV, cameras, tablets, smart home gadgets, gaming consoles among others) that use your home Wi-Fi.
• Activate encryption
Every router produced over the last ten years comes with encryption which is there for a good reason, to ensure that you have a secure wireless network. To confirm this, access the router’s setting and click on the security options. Some router brands will not be complex to access and understand their setting, but some will be a puzzle. If you get lost, visit the maker’s support site for assistance.
Once you get to the settings, turn on the WPA2-PSK; if it not available then stick to the WPA2 option. However, the WPA2 option tells you that you are using an old router and you should upgrade to a modern one that has better encryption. The encryption type should read as AES, do not go for the TKIP option if there is one. Enter a password for the Wi-Fi which is also referred to as the network key.
Activate encryption (Wi-Fi)
The activation key is not the same as the password used for accessing the router; it is what other will need to have authorized access to your Wi-Fi network. It should be long and will phrase or digits that no one can guess while being easy to type in for every device that uses your wireless network. Mix it up; the password should have special characters, numbers, and letters (upper and lowercase). Ensure it is a password that you can remember with ease.
• Double up on firewalls
Routers have a built-in firewall to secure the internal network against intrusion from unauthorized parties. You need to enable it since the firewall is not set to activate automatically. The firewall may read as NAT (Network Address Translation) or SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection).
For added protection, avoid sending your personal stuff using your own software over the network. Make sure that you also install firewall software on your computer or ensure you activate the one that comes with the operating system such as in Windows 8 and 10. If you are to install the software, do not go for the free versions since most have loopholes that crafty entities can exploit to bypass the firewall. Most of the best firewalls software out there are not free because they offer extras such as antivirus and phishing protection.
• Turn off guest networks
The idea of providing a network without an encryption password may sound charitable but is unwise because not everyone is trustworthy. Such a move leaves your wireless network open to everyone, and this put you at risk. If anyone within range seeks to access your network should not request the password from you.
• Use a VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is connection relies on a third-party server to establish a tunnel between your device and the internet. It is often used to mask your IP address making you appear as though you are in another country thus nobody can see your internet traffic. Some of the high-end VPNs even block ads. It is wise for every internet user to consider using a VPN, but not just any VPN, only the version that offers the best services. If you want to find a service that allows use with a VPN then look at this Simply Switch Broadband comparison.
• Update router firmware
People with the right skills, knowledge, and gear can find security holes in browsers, the operating system or other software that they can exploit and the same goes for routers. Most router makers are aware of this hence they try to stay a step ahead by issuing new software updates called firmware. Check for the router’s firmware updates every month by accessing the router settings to confirm whether you an upgrade. Most of the updates come with new features that improve the services offered by the router while enhancing the security.
Upgrading the custom third-party firmware such as OpenWrt, Tomato, or DD-WRT is another viable option. You will erase the maker’s firmware entirely and install something that offers you new features with better speeds and service than the original firmware. Take this step only if you are particularly confident about your knowledge and skills.