Ten Tips to Protect Your Wi-Fi Network
October 29th, 2020
October is Wi-Fi Security Month, and we all know there is absolutely nothing spookier than getting your Wi-Fi network hacked. According to Breach Level Index, hackers steal 75 records every second. That’s scary! Keep reading for our top 10 tips on how to keep your home network safe.
1. Change your default username and password
Did you know that over 80% of Internet users don’t change the default password on their router? Don’t be like those people. Keep your Wi-Fi safe and create a new password and username for your network!
2. Make your wireless network password unique and strong
The default password and username that comes with your router may seem safe, but it’s easy to guess for hackers, especially if they know the router manufacturer. You’ll want to make sure to create a robust and unique password for your wireless network. General rule of thumb: length over complexity. Think of these as passphrases rather than passwords. Pick three random objects in your surroundings to create a unique, strong, and easy to remember password.
3. Don’t click links from people you don’t know
This one goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyways. Don’t click on any mysterious links! Don’t send money to any Nigerian princes, and don’t email the “IRS” your social security number and credit card information. You should never provide any personal or financial information in an email or text. And, with the upcoming election, you’ll want to be careful of phishing emails posing as legitimate election news. Verify the sender and hover over the link to see where it leads before clicking it.
4. Scrutinize your texts
Treat your cell phone just like you would your computer, don’t give out personal information, and don’t click on unknown links. Scrutinize random texts the same way you would a strange email. “Text Phishing” is also referred to as “smishing” (SMS Phishing). Phishing scammers are increasingly using smishing to get information.
5. Turn on Wireless Network Encryption
Network Encryption is a great way to keep your network safe. Most routers come with an encryption feature, but you have to turn it on manually. The most secure encryption to use for your home network is WPA2. (Unless WPA3 is available, which will only be seen on newer routers.) To see if your home router has WPA2 or WPA3 encryption, check the wireless properties on your network settings.
6. Hide your network from view
When setting up your home network you are asked to create a public network name (SSID). Disabling your public network name will allow you to hide your network name from the list of people in the surrounding area, deterring casual snoopers. Unfortunately, hackers can still see your hidden network.
7. Use Firewalls
A “firewall” is designed to protect your network and prevent cyber-attacks. The majority of routers contain built-in firewalls, but it’s important to confirm that your firewall is turned on. If your router doesn’t have a built-in firewall, we recommend upgrading to a newer router with a built-in firewall.
8. Enable MAC address Filtering
Most routers have a unique identifier called the physical address or Media Access Control (MAC) address. This address can improve security by limiting the number of devices that can hook up to the home network. However, the downside to this is that it may be difficult to manage. No new devices (like friends who come over and want to connect to your Wi-Fi) will be able to connect until they are added to your list. Here’s how you can enable MAC address filtering:
- Log in to the router using your web browser. The URL can typically be found on the side or bottom of the router (i.e. https://192.168.0.1).
- Enter the username and password for the router. This will be the default unless it has been changed.
9. Disable Remote Administration
One way that cyber-attackers can access your Wi-Fi network is through the remote administration feature on your router. Remote administration allows anyone in close proximity to your network to view or change your settings. To turn remote administration off, go into the administration section of your Wi-Fi settings, and click disable.
10. Keep your Wi-Fi software up to date
A simple way to protect your home Wi-Fi system is to make sure your software is always up to date. Sometimes a router’s firmware will contain a flaw that can become a vulnerability that hackers will take advantage of. These flaws can be quickly fixed through firmware updates from the manufacturer. Typically, routers don’t have an auto-update option, so you’ll want to manually update the software occasionally.
Have any questions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to nerd out with you about Wi-Fi security. And, if you ever feel like your Wi-Fi is lacking, check out these tips to boost your wi-fi signal.