You probably have an array of devices connected to your home Wi-Fi network, from phones and computers to smart TVs and gaming consoles. While router security has seen a lot of improvement over the years, there are still some basic steps that you need to take to protect your network – and personal information – from getting hacked.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more:
How Can I Protect My Home Wi-Fi Network?
Change Your Router’s Default Password
Most routers are shipped from manufacturers with default passwords built-in. Since these can easily be found on the internet, you must change them to something stronger. You’ll encounter two types of passwords here, including:
- The Wi-Fi password is the one you enter to connect to the network. Make sure to use a complex and difficult-to-guess Wi-Fi password, as it will go a long way in keeping strangers off your network.
- The Router Login Password is the one that provides access to the router’s administrative settings. If a hacker manages to log into the router admin page, they’ll be able to change various settings like your Wi-Fi password, for example.
Enable Wireless Encryption
Encryption is one of the best ways to protect your network data. What it does is scramble your traffic so that nobody can decipher it. Depending on the router you’re using, you’ll have different encryption types to choose from. We recommend using Wireless Protected Access 3 (WPA3) because it’s the latest encryption available. However, if you don’t have WPA3, you can select Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA 2) instead.
Deactivate WPS, UPnP, and Remote Management
Though these features are quite convenient, using them can weaken your home network’s security. For instance, remote management makes it possible to modify router settings remotely over the internet. WPS lets you connect to the network by pushing a button on your router, eliminating the need to enter the Wi-Fi password. As for UPnP, it allows devices on the same network to find each other and connect automatically. If a connected device has malware, it can spread to your other devices as well.
Hide Your Wi-Fi SSID
SSID stands for Serial Set Identifier, which is your home network’s name. Why hide it, though? Well, the primary benefit of doing so is that it minimizes the chance of an attack as nosy neighbors and hackers wouldn’t even know your network is there. By making your network more difficult to find, you can ensure that unknown devices can’t connect.
Create a Guest Network
Setting up a guest network that uses a different SSID and password is a great move from a security standpoint. Fewer people will know your primary Wi-Fi network password, and if a guest’s tablet or phone is infected with malware, it won’t make its way onto your primary network and connected devices.
Set Up a VPN on Your Router
WPA3 is a big step forward for router security, but it isn’t without vulnerabilities either. In 2019, two security researchers Eyal Ronen and Mathy Vanhoef, identified flaws in WPA3 that could allow cybercriminals to crack Wi-Fi passwords and access encrypted data transmitted between a users’ devices. By configuring a VPN on your router, you can encrypt the online activities of every device connected to the network by default.
Firewalls will offer protection against cyber-attacks from the outside by shielding your network from unnecessary or malicious traffic. They can also stop malicious software from accessing a network over the internet. Most routers come with a built-in firewall, but you can also use a software firewall in conjunction with it to solidify your home network’s security.
Keep Router Firmware Up-to-Date
Firmware updates should be installed automatically by your router. However, if not, you can visit the manufacturer’s website to download the latest version. Ideally, you should do this before making any of the aforementioned changes to your router’s settings.
As you can see, you don’t necessarily have to be a tech junkie to strengthen the security of your home network. Most of the solutions above are simple to implement and don’t even cost any money. Give them a try and keep your home Wi-Fi network safe from outsiders!