Your wifi network poses a lot of security risks. Here's how you can secure your WiFi network and protect yourself from intruders.
In 2019, about 20 percent of Internet users were subject to some kind of malware attack. That’s just one type of cybersecurity risk facing you every time you access the Internet.
More people than ever are using WiFi networks as their primary mode of accessing the Web. You might access WiFi at a coffee shop. Chances are some of your devices connect to your own WiFi network when you’re at home.
Devices like your smart speaker, your thermostat, and others also connect to your WiFi. These devices are also at risk of cyberattack.
One of the best things you can do is create a secure WiFi network for your home or workplace. If you want to make a more secure environment to surf the Web, then this guide can help you get started.
Use Password Best Practices
One of the easiest things you can do to improve WiFi network security is to use password protection. Most routers come with a password anyway. You can make your network more secure by following some best practices.
The first is to use a complex password. The password uses a mix of capital and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. It’s more than eight characters in length.
Most routers come with a fairly strong password. You shouldn’t keep using this password forever though. Instead, change the password on a regular basis.
You should also limit who has the password for your network. This helps you control who has access to the router and your network. Changing the password often means people can’t keep using your network indefinitely.
Control Access to Your Router
There are a few more steps you can take to improve router security. First, make sure you change your administrator settings.
On most routers, admin credentials are the same for every router. You can also access the admin control from any connected device. This, in turn, puts you at risk.
Anyone who has the same router could connect to your network and get into the admin console. They can then lock you out. By accessing the console first, you can secure your network.
You’ll also want to take a look at remote management settings. Most routers have this on by default. It means anyone can remotely connect to your router and access the device.
You’ll also want to turn off the Universal Plug ‘n Play (UPnP) protocol once you have smart devices set up on the network. If you don’t, they can be hacked, granting people access to your network.
You may also want to allocate static addresses for each device on your network. This makes intruders easier to spot when they try to get on the network. You’ll notice the new IP address.
Secure WiFi Network with a Firewall
Another step you can take is to turn on the firewall for your router. Most routers can use both software and hardware firewalls.
A firewall blocks intruders before they even reach your network. It’s one of the best ways to keep unwanted network users out.
Encryption keeps your data safe as you use the Internet. If you’re using weak encryption, a hacker could crack it. They then have access to information about your Internet activity, as well as data you’ve sent over the Internet.
If you haven’t switched your router’s encryption settings yet, now is the time to do it. Switch to WPA2, the strongest of the three common encryption standards.
If it’s available, you should use WPA2 AES. This particular standard is currently impossible to crack.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network also offers enhanced encryption. That means you get dual-layer Internet security. The VPN goes one step beyond in creating more security, though.
The VPN encrypts all Internet activity between your computer and another, remote server. Anyone hacking your router still won’t be able to get your data stream.
VPNs are great for foiling wireless packet sniffers, which can be picked up from public WiFi.
If you’re using a Mac, how to secure WiFi with a VPN may be a little different.
Keep Firmware Up to Date
Another step to take is making sure your router’s firmware is up to date. Vulnerabilities exist in almost every piece of software out there, which can make it easy for hackers to get in.
You can also keep firmware up to date on your other devices. Using security apps on your computer and other devices is another step in the right direction. Keep all apps up to date, and you’ll be better protected when you access the Internet.
Turn the Router Off
If you’re not using the network, you can try turning it off. You might want to turn your router off overnight unless you have a big download you’re running.
If you’re going to be away for any length of time, then it’s a good idea to turn the router off. This prevents people from getting in and using your network to conduct malicious activities. It also prevents them from hacking other devices on your system, such as smart speakers.
Set Up a Separate Network for IoT
You may want to consider setting up a separate network for IoT devices. Your smart speaker or a home security system are examples.
With a separate network, you limit the flow of sensitive data across either network. This makes it more difficult for hackers to access the information you’re entering on Internet forms or data moving across the IoT.
It’s still a good idea to put stiff security protocols in place for any and all WiFi networks. The IoT can still send sensitive data, such as information about what time you’re usually home and when you’re usually out.
Stay Safe with the Right Security Know-How
Creating a secure WiFi network can give you peace of mind as you go about your everyday activities. Whether you need to do some online banking or you want to protect your home from thieves, stepping up your security is a great idea.