Frequently, when we think about the protection, we tend to think about passwords, unsafe websites, and viruses attached to emails. One thing that is often unobserved, however, is the protection of our wireless networks themselves.
Even though less trendy than the more publicised threats, nonetheless, protecting our routers is a critically important part of staying safe online – in fact, only last month Virgin advised its customers to change their default router passwords following an Investigation
We might make up that an unprotected wireless network will result in nothing more than an increased chance that someone might help themselves to some of our bandwidth for free. However, while this in itself can be somewhat irritating, the possible threats can, in reality, be far more severe.
In fact, if a deceitful third party can connect to your network they might interrupt all of your traffic – stealing your passwords, redirecting your requests to false sites and changing the contents of your data are just some of the things they might want to do. And, in fact, even if they’re only using your network to get online they might be using that access to do all kinds of illegal things – all in your name.
So, it is critically important that your wireless router is kept as protected as possible.
Here are some tips for beefing up the security of your WiFi.
Alter your router’s admin username and password*
Every router comes with a default, and typically familiar, username and password. So, for example, a particular firm’s routers might all have the username admin and the password, password. If these values remain unchanged, a hacker on your network would have pretty easy access to your router’s admin section.
Once in the admin section of the router, a hacker would be in control of your network – with the capability to change passwords or block and allow devices, for example.
So, if you haven’t done so already, go into your router’s settings and change the username and password to something only you know. You can get into your router’s settings by typing its IP address into a web browser. The address will usually be something like http://192.168.0.1.
Alter your network name
The service set identifier (SSID) is the name you see when you connect to your network. It is usually based on the type of router you are using.
If you’ve not followed the advice in step 1, then the SSID can be like a red rag to a bull – knowing the type of router you’re using, without changing the default password, would be a little like giving a hacker the keys to your home.
Even if you have changed your username and password though, which you actually should, it can also be a good idea to change the SSID to something more personal (just don’t use your name) that masks the type of router you’re using. Like all of these tips, you can carry this out in your router’s admin section.
Verify your wireless key settings
First, it is important to confirm in your router’s settings what type of encryption your router is using. Older forms of encryption like WEP and WPA are vulnerable to attack and so, if you have the option, take care to choose WPA2 encryption. It might be set to that already, but it is undoubtedly worth checking.
Next, make sure that you change the password (network key) to something strong containing a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. A useful method of ensuring a solid yet memorable password is to think of a significant phrase and use that to construct the password.
For example, you might think of the phrase ‘Although I am internet service provider in Mumbai, I now live and work in Mumbai.' That’s easy enough to remember (especially if it’s true), and by using it to construct a secure yet memorable password, you might come up with something like aIaISPiM, In1awiM!
A mixture of high encryption and a secure password can help to make sure that only the people you would like being able to connect to your network.
Other things you might want to think about
Updating your router’s firmware to the latest version can help to repair any security vulnerabilities that have been recognized. Notifications of firmware update availability, along with detailed installation instructions can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website.
MAC address (the permanent identifier assigned to any piece of hardware) filtering can be used only to allow specific devices to connect to your network. Again, detailed instructions can be found on the manufacturer’s website and online. This is not a perfect system, however. By ‘spoofing’ MAC addresses, knowledgeable hackers can fool your network into accepting connections from their devices.
If you only connect to your network via an Ethernet connection, you might want to disable WiFi on your router in general. In this case, health Fitness Articles, only devices physically connected to the router could connect to your network. This is indeed extremely problematic if you have wireless devices (which most of us do).
Security is a must these days. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO HACK YOU!