You just had your internet network set up by your ISP technician with the works like modem/router and wifi. Everything is already set up for you, and now you are ready to work from anywhere in your house and binge watch Netflix on your tablet. What if I told you someone could be seeing all the activity you are doing within your network. If I stopped you dead in your tracks from sending that confidential work email, then good. A lot of people place an enormous amount of faith in the security settings preconfigured within their WiFi network. It is up to you to do your due diligence to make your network as safe as possible. Use the following tips to safeguard your Wi-Fi network.
Access your router’s firmware
This is your first step to Wi-Fi security nirvana. Accessing your router is necessary to implement the security changes mentioned in the following points. To access your router, find out your computers default gateway by using ipconfig command on the command line on windows, the terminal on MacOS or Linux. Once you find the default gateway, enter it into your web browser. This should take you to your routers login page.
Change the preconfigured password
A lot of routers come with pre-configured passwords spelled out as bright as day on the back of the device. You should change this password to avoid any unwanted person visiting your house to acquire your login credentials. There are two types of passwords that should be changed. One is the password to access your routers firmware. To change this, look up your routers user manual to find the preconfigured username and password and the steps to change it. The second things that you want to change are the name and password for your Wi-Fi network. This name will the one visible to devices trying to connect to your router and the password required to access it. Furthermore, you don’t want your password to be something too obvious like your last name followed by your birth year. You want a combination of letters and symbols like Fl5_ctn$-N4fT to avoid having it brute forced.
Choose a secured protocol
When setting up networks, you probably have stumbled upon abbreviations like WPA(Wi-Fi Protected Access), WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy), and WPA2(Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). These are security algorithms used to make your network secure. Your go-to option when choosing a security protocol should be WPA2. It is the standard protocol used for Wi-Fi security to this date.
Use MAC address filtering
Every computer that communicates through a network has a communications card in it. These cards have dedicated address assigned to them known as the MAC address. Configure your router to only grant Wi-Fi access to MAC address of computers of your choice within the network. This will prevents unknown computers that connect to the network to access it. To implement MAC address filtering, check your router’s manual and find the steps to set up filter rules.
Disable all remote access to router
Most modern routers have the option of remotely accessing their firmware over the internet or the Wi-Fi network itself. You should disable both of these features if you do not have the need to alter your settings remotely. By disabling them, you avoid third parties from accessing your router unless they are directly connected through LAN. If you do need to access your router remotely, consider setting up a Virtual Private Network(VPN) to make a secure connection to your router.