It is hard to imagine a house without a WiFi router today. The time when a laptop was turning into a desktop because of the internet cable is long gone. However, with great opportunities comes great responsibility. You need to know how to protect WiFi network to avoid data leaks and unapproved connections.
Why You Need to Secure a Home Network
It might not be so obvious, but right now, at this very moment, someone may spy on you through your WiFi. They gain access to all your passwords, data, and other personal information stored on your electronic devices connected to the network. And you are not willing to share it with strangers, are you?
What a Secure WiFi Network Saves You from
As we have already mentioned above, the first danger is scammers, who might gain access to your devices connected to the network. On one side, if you do not protect your WiFi network properly, they can get all your nudes and confidential documents (if you have any); on the other – they can slow down the work of your devices, using different malware and viruses. In both cases, it is not cool at all.
What is more, hackers can use your WiFi connection for their dark deeds, and later the police will come to your house, as it is where the digital footsteps lead. Of course, sooner or later, they will understand that you are not the one they are looking for, but anyway, the situation is not too pleasant. And it can be avoided if you protect WiFi network properly.
Key Features to Secure a WiFi Network
Not every house should be protected as well as Pentagon, but it is useful to know some basic cybersecurity rules to avoid problems in the future.
The Default Name and Password Are Not Your Bros
It is something people never pay attention to, but it should be the first step: change the default credentials of your network. You can choose any name you want, for example, call it “Sea of Pleasure”, or “Do Not Enter”. As for the password, there are several recommendations:
- it should not be your birth date or any other real date;
- it should contain upper-case letters;
- it should contain numbers;
- better if it is a completely random number or word.
Your home WiFi security should be as natural for you as brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Hygiene is above everything, even digital one.
Admin Password to Rule the WiFi and Limit Unwanted Access
Changing the network password is useless if any computer-literate person can access your router’s settings and set it up as they want. All the routers are delivered to you with a default password to access the admin panel. It is usually “admin” or “1234”. It is suggested by the manufacturer that you change this password as soon as you start using the device, increasing your home WiFi security level. But many people just leave the default password and do not bother.
As a result, the phreaks can:
- change your password;
- change the WiFi settings;
- block some ports;
- decrease the speed;
and make you “happy” in another dozen of ways.
Welcome to My Home Guest Network
To secure a home network, you can create a separate connection for all the visitors and even print a QR code to ease access. The main advantage of such a guest network is that it provides access to the internet, but all your personal devices are connected to another network. Therefore, the risk of data leaks in such a way is minimal.
It does not protect you from those who want to use your WiFi to cover up their trails, but it definitely makes it useless to try to get your personal data. There is a saying: do not keep all eggs in one basket. Well, this is exactly the case.
WiFi encryption is very similar thing to a password. The main point is that it encrypts the data, not the network. All the popular and legal websites and games have so-called “certificates” that allow them to decrypt the information received from you and send some data back.
Without encryption, all your internet traffic is as naked as … Well, choose the comparison you like yourself; we are sure you got the point. You never know who and why may try to break your privacy; that’s why you need to be protected from all sides.
Hide Behind the Firewall
Firewalls are the first defense line if you want a secure home network. The easiest way to understand what a firewall is to compare it to the gates. Every chink of information arrives at the gates, and firewalls check their documents. If the visitors are not authorized to enter, there is no way for them to get in.
Usually, setting up the Firewall is possible in three different modes:
- home network;
- public network;
- perimeter network.
You use the “home” profile if you do not intend to take your device out, so usually, it concerns your home PCs. A public network is a good choice if you love to work on your laptop in cafes. Always choose the “public network” option if you are out. Finally, the perimeter network is used when there is the main computer to which many other machines are connected.
Empty House – No WiFi
It is also one of those obvious things: why should you keep WiFi working if no one uses it? Switching your router off when you are out decreases the risk that someone will spy on devices connected to your WiFi. Many criminals are afraid to operate when they see that the owner is at home, while an empty house is a green flag for them, and your router is the keyhole.
If you want to ensure that your home WiFi security is on the top level – never leave the router on when you go out. It will help you save some energy, money, and avoid undesirable “visitors” to your network.
Update the Firmware
The first thing everyone should turn to in case they are not sure about the level of their home WiFi security. It is also one of the easiest ones. What can be easier than pressing the “upgrade” button and getting all the newest security protocols and features from the developers?
It is, by the way, one more reason to change the password for the admin panel. There is often the “restore the defaults button near the “upgrade one”, which will basically equalize all your efforts to zero. Thus, neglect it. It should be only you who decides whether to upgrade or downgrade the firmware and when to do that.
Choose a WPA3 Router
WPA3 is the most modern encryption method aimed at increasing your home WiFi security to the heavens. Basically, it is a more developed version of the WPA2 protocol, with some improved and new functions.
- WPA3’s shield is bigger; it protects your network from more threats.
- This encryption method is more modern: it uses GCPM-256 encryption, which allows it to have longer and more complex keys than WPA2 with its 128 bits.
- A more secure connection between your device and the access point.
There is no 100% protection, but WPA3 will definitely help you secure a WiFi network on a higher level.
Disable Remote Access
By default, all WiFi routers have a remote access feature turned on. It means that it is possible to access the admin panel and change the settings wherever you are. Unfortunately, not only you. Hackers worldwide can do the same, and breaking your password is only a matter of time for them.
If you disable this feature, only those who are connected to the network will be able to access the admin panel. It significantly narrows the circle of potential intruders and helps you better protect WiFi network. We don’t think that sitting near the sea in Thailand you will suffer without access to your WiFi router admin panel in New York.
Place Your Router in the Center of Your House
The most straightforward way to protect your network from strangers is to place it right in the center of your house or flat. You may wonder how it can be useful. Well, the WiFi signal has a limitation of around 10 meters, so when the router is somewhere near the outer wall, the signal also covers a big area outside.
On the other hand, not everyone has such big habitats to place the router in the center and be sure that your network is not accessible from the outside. Thus, consider this method only if you have enough space.
Your cyber security is only in your hands. You might think that no one needs your personal data and no one will try to hack your WiFi but … It is better to be protected rather than surprised when it happens, isn’t it?