Both companies and households put a lot of effort into keeping unauthorized users away from their networks. However, hackers still find ways to evade networks through Wi-Fi access points and routers. Wi-Fi signals are an enticing invitation for hackers as the signals travel into the streets outside the boundaries of buildings and homes. That’s what makes wardriving or drive-by hacking such a hot favorite among cybercriminals during their free time.
Switching off the Wi-Fi access may not be practical as most users use many different devices, and most of them cannot be connected via Ethernet cables.
With your Wi-Fi staying active almost all day, it’s an open invitation to cybercriminals. The only thing you can do is to protect yourself by securing your wireless network more. We share with you a few handy tips to do so.
Use an Ethernet to Access Your Router’s Admin Panel
Opening your router’s administration panel is as simple as visiting a website. You’ll only have to type in the router’s IP address and provide the necessary credentials.
When you use a wireless connection to log into your router’s admin panel, the login credentials you enter travel through the air, and hence, they can be intercepted. There’s no encryption of your router’s management page.
Therefore, there’s always a possibility of a rogue device present on your network spying on traffic seeing your password when you login wirelessly.
You can eliminate this risk by logging in while being connected by Ethernet. We suggest that you disable remote access altogether when you are tweaking anything. It will ensure that while a hacker may manage to connect to your network wirelessly, you’ll still be saved from hijacking as the hacker shall not be able to make any changes.
Create a Secure WPA Password
To make sure that even the most determined hackers can’t crack your Wi-Fi network, create a long and unique password. Do not assume that the default password is secure. It is possible to find them online on manufacturers’ websites.
Even if this information is not available online, perpetrators can use other methods. For instance, they could perform brute-force attacks to break into your network. How does it work? Well, the attackers will try every password in the book to access your network. Thus, it is important to not only change the password but make it difficult to crack. Forget about combinations like 1234. They are old news. Instead, go for complicated ones containing both letters, numbers, and special symbols. The longer the password, the fewer chances hackers have to compromise your network.
Router Firewall Should Be Enabled
A firewall blocks any incoming network data it deems unsafe. Most routers come with a built-in firewall feature, the SPI firewall. It works by comparing all network data that’s incoming against its database and allows traffic to go through only if it passes the test.
While this is enabled by default on most routers, you should still check to see if it’s on. You may use port forwarding in case it interferes with any online games.
You should make a note of the fact that a router’s firewall alone isn’t enough for your network’s security. As an added shield of defense, we suggest that you install a software firewall as some malicious data may remain undetected and slip through.
Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
To raise the security of your Wi-Fi network, we suggest using a VPN. A Virtual Private Network encrypts the connection between your device and the internet, keeping it secure from prying eyes. It also hides your IP address boosting your online anonymity and making it impossible to track you online.
Of course, there are many other ways to keep track of your actions. For instance, cookies are one of the threats. Luckily, many browsers offer default protection from cookies. You can easily block all third-party cookies, which will minimize the tracking further.
Disable Remote Management
Some of the features your router offers are highly convenient. For instance, UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) refers to networking protocols that are in favor of seamless connection. Thanks to this feature, you can easily connect various devices to the internet. Essentially, it automates the process of port forwarding, giving users a chance to skip lengthy configurations. It is a useful feature for wireless streaming, such as broadcasting content from a computer to a TV.
However, convenience often comes at a price. Even though UPnP is an excellent feature for local networks, it is not necessarily the safest. In fact, it is considered highly unsafe by security experts. UPnP can open doors to any device wanting to join your network. However, not every device is reliable. The protocol lacks authentication, which would reassure that only trusted devices get to connect.
Set a Guest Network
You do not have to give your guests the right to access your main network. You can easily set up a guest network instead. It will operate independently and will have a different password. It is a beneficial practice for two main reasons.
First of all, your main network’s password will be less well-known. The second reason is that if your guests have malware on their devices, it won’t spread into your primary network.
Update Your Firmware
You might already update your apps and OS regularly. However, users can forget about routers and their firmware. Of course, manufacturers might not release updates as frequently. You can find whether an update is available via your providers’ websites.
It is also possible to set automatic updates, meaning you will not need to perform updates manually. If you tend to forget about it, the automatic option is a great solution.
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