Chances are that your home already uses a wireless network. Wireless routers are among the most common home devices, enabling you to connect dozens of devices to the Internet wirelessly.
However, not many of you truly understand how important it is to secure the wireless network in your home. While you read this, cybercriminals are busy exploiting the most common home network vulnerabilities, ticking off victims, one by one.
Before they get down to you, maximize your home wireless security. Here are 7 great ways to do that:
1- Set Strong Router Password
Sounds too obvious? Well, you’d be surprised to know how easily hackers can crack router passwords, particularly if the password isn’t complex enough.
More than 7500 MikroTik routers were hacked by cybercriminals in September 2018. A hacked router means all your network traffic information could be sent to malicious web entities.
A robust and crack-proof password is a good defense.
Make sure you use the maximum characters that your router software allowed for use in the password, use alphanumeric characters, capital letters, and symbols. Plus, make it a rule to change your router password every 30 days.
When guests request your router’s password, offer to enter it for them, rather than type it out for them over smartphone messaging apps.
Don’t use default login credentials for router admin
Many home users don’t change the default username and password for their routers’ admin account. Manufacturers use a standard set of credentials, which is easy to find out from Google and dark web. Don’t expose your home network; change these details the first thing when you set a new router up.
2- Set up WPA2 Encryption
WPA2 stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, and it’s the current standard in the industry. The protocols ensure encryption of your Wi-Fi network traffic.
Check whether your router currently uses WPA2 protection.
If not, visit the manufacturer’s online resource pages to understand how to activate it.
Note: WPA3 will soon replace WPA2, ensuring your wireless networks become more secure.
3- Use a Robust VPN
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Man in the middle attacks is on the rise. Also, it’s a common ploy among hackers to leverage unsecured public Wi-Fi spots for planting malware in a network user’s devices. Next, when this compromised device is connected to a home network, the malware allows cybercriminals to hack the entire home network.
Using a robust VPN is a practical and inexpensive solution. VPNs offer you anonymity while you connect to potentially unsecured networks, encrypt your data, block intrusive ads, block malware, and offer seamless web browsing.
4- Choose Your Wireless Router’s Positioning Carefully
Chances are that your Wi-Fi router is located pretty close to a window sill, particularly if you’re living in an apartment within a multi-storeyed complex.
While this may offer practical advantages (such as better aesthetics, concealment of wires, etc.), you really need to take a security-first approach.
We recommend placing the router deep inside the house, as close as possible to the center. The benefits are two-fold – for starters, you protect the router from physical tampering by people outside your home. Secondly, you will experience better signal strength in all parts of the house.
5- Make Sure You Turn Your Wireless Network Off When Not In Use
You simply can’t be too careful about these issues. Make it everyone’s responsibility in the house to turn the wireless network device(s) off when not in use.
When you leave home for the office, or for a vacation, it’s even more important to switch off the device and make sure the network remains unavailable for cybercriminals.
6- Stay In The Hunt for News About Vulnerabilities in Your Devices
Did you know – your router’s firmware could be ridden by flaws, which, once known to cybercriminals, quickly become exploitable vulnerabilities that could compromise your home network.
Device manufacturers are also always on the lookout for such flaws and are quick to correct them. Do you need a device upgrade? You’d know if you stay on the lookout for related news on network security forums.
7- Disable Remote Router Admin Access
Advanced wireless routers let you access their settings remotely, via web addresses. While this offers convenience, it also means hackers can control the device without even having to break into any device connected to the network.
The convenience, hence, comes with a major security risk. For most home users, the need to access the router admin remotely isn’t very frequent, which makes it practical to simply switch the setting off.
As the number of devices, we bring to our homes increases, our home’s wireless network will become more and more vulnerable. The responsibility of securing the network rests with you. Follow the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide.