Wireless network has surely eliminated the hassles that cables use to bring and made it easier for us to access the internet on different devices at the same time. But there are certain loops holes that we need to address here while using the WiFi. If you are using a broadband connection and accessing the internet through WiFi, then there is always a chance that it can be accessed from the outside of your home.
If you are using WiFi at home office, then you must learn how you can secure the WiFi network. These days, we are using the antivirus software on different devices to receive internet security. However, we are still not able to understand the kind of security risk that the WiFi routers can bring to the table.
Hackers can easily get into the network that you are using. That’s why it becomes very vital for you to know how you can secure the WiFi network that you are using.
Secure WiFi and why it is vital?
Keep in mind that the wireless signals on basis of which your WiFi network works can be accessed from a certain distance. When you own the WiFi router, you might have only become familiar with the initial setting up of the device. You hardly wanted to know more about its other settings.
Having a WiFi brings easy access to the wireless internet. So, there is always a need to enhance the security measures for the system that you are using. When you secure the WiFi network, you may not be able to prevent those sophisticated hackers from accessing your network or compromising with the privacy, but surely you will be able to make it more difficult for them to do so. And the trick lies with securing the router like device without compromising with its performance.
Why the WiFi users must secure their network?
As far as the internet security and privacy like aspects are concerned, they are not so easy to understand. As the technology advances, so does the cyber security. And when a new trick or development is introduced for the internet security, hackers have also started to come up with the new ways to compromise it. In the recent time, security concerns arisen with Facebook and data breach have occurred with the Zoom like video conferencing app. So, this suggests, threats for the cyber security is increasing day by day.
As per the ITRC or known as the Identity Theft Resource Centre, in US itself the number of the data breaches has increased to 17% during the year 2019 than the year 2018. Since the year 2005, the same organization has traced near about 10,000 data breaches. And this suggests if you are using WiFi, then others can even access the same internet connection that you use. In case of wired network, this is not going to happen. It’s the signal of WiFi device can reach beyond your home and this may allow neighbors to access your internet.
A wide range of high end routers have started to come to the market. These routers are best known for offering increased bandwidth as well as speed. But the default security measures for most of these routers can easily make your internet connection vulnerable for security breach. And this makes things easier for a hacker.
People who use to do their online banking transactions over an unsecure WiFi can easily show their banking details to a hacker. A sophisticated hacker can easily access those sensitive financial details when these are transmitted over that unsecured network.
As the internet of things or IoT has become more common at our households, the security risks has also become a topic that keeps us more concerned about what can happen next. IoT devices can store a wide range of private data. And when a security breach occurs, this can be very devastating for you, especially when you are using several such devices.
For example, hackers are using the home assistants such as Alexa or Google Home to listen the conversation of people and people never know about this. This has occurred so many times in the recent past.
So, you need to take step now and secure the WiFi network first, even though you are using the best antivirus software and never been hacked before. And to do so, you need to follow some simple steps.
So, again we come to the point – how we can secure the WiFi?
Here you are going to learn about those simple steps that you can take to secure the WiFi router as well as can safeguard the wireless network from the hackers.
Step 1: First change the SSID name of the network
The SSID name is nothing but the router’s brand name and it is mostly pre defined. When you change this default name, it also becomes tough for the hacker to know the router type that you are using and also its weaknesses that can be targeted to hack the device. By following some steps, you can replace the old SSID name with a new one.
- Log in to the router’s app or web interface as the administrator.
- Select the WiFi settings or any other similar settings.
- Search for the SSID name and this can be mostly found in the basic-setting page. There are also some common labels used to denote such name and these can be name of the router, name of the wireless network or name of the network.
- Once you find that name, click it and you will be allowed to enter the new name. While doing this, ensure that you are not using your own name or address or any kind of personal details.
- Once done, save your settings as well as restart the router.
Step 2: Your WiFi password must be unique and strong and for this you must use WPA2 encryption.
The WiFi routers coming to the market usually come with no password or they can have a default password. These passwords are very simple and hackers can guess them easily, if they are aware of the manufacturer’s name.
When you change this default password with a strong and more unique type of password, you also ensure that your WiFi network is safe enough from the hackers. When it comes to the setting of strong password for the WiFi network, you should use the one that come with near about twenty characters and also carries the combination of capital as well as small letters, symbols and numbers. So, this is how you can change the WiFi password:
- First, long in to the app or web interface of the router as an administrator. And when you are doing this make sure that your device stays connected with router through Ethernet cable. If you are connecting the router’s interface through WiFi, then there is always a chance that you will be kicked out once you start to change the settings and then you may need to log back so that you can make several adjustments.
- Once you are logged in, go for the WiFi settings as well as try to trace security settings.
- Then you need to select the encryption type. Here, you will come across options like WPA2, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WEP, etc. the first one is better and secure.
- See the place where it asks for the new password to be entered and enter it.
- Then you need to change that administrator password with the router as well.
Step 3: Change the username as well as password
When you want to log it with the router as an administrator, you have to use both the username as well as password. There might be default usernames as well as passwords with the routers. But you have to change them, as these generic details can be guessed easily by the hackers.
There is always a public database for the username and passwords which are mostly given by the makers of the routers. So, hackers can easily trace them. Therefore, it is very vital to change that default log in details and this is how you can do it:
- First, log in with the router’s app or the web interface as an administrator.
- Access the settings of the router and try to find out administrator settings. This may take some time to trace it, as different routers use to have different interface.
- Once you find the admin password and username, you should change them with the new ones. If you are not able to change this from the admin, you need to make the password more unique as well as complicated and this will prevent the hackers from guessing it.
- Once you are done with this step save the changes that you made with settings as well as restart that router.
Step 4: The router must remain up to date
When it comes to the WiFi network and its security, the firmware of the router also plays a very vital role. Like other software that we use, firmware of the router is also having its own flaws. And this is what the skilled hackers are looking for.
The fact is most of the routers announced for the market does not have that auto update feature. And the routers who do have such feature, this needs to be enabled manually. So, this becomes very vital for you to look for the regular updates and must install them. And there are some steps to do so:
- Use the Ethernet cable to connect the computer with the router and then long in with the app of web interface of the router as an administrator.
- Search for update on firmware as well as select it. You have to search for it. This can be anywhere in your settings.
- You have to wait till the router explores as well as installs those latest updates. And once it completes, restart your router.
Step 5: Use of a firewall
There are two different forms in which the firmware comes. The first one is the software firewalls and this often runs on the PC and offer protection against the suspicious apps as well as programs. The next one is the hardware firewalls and these are very different from the first one. These firewalls provide exceptional defense against the malicious attacks.
Most of the routers coming to the market these days use to have an in built firewall. And they all have the default settings that are provided for reasonable protection. So, first you need to check whether or not there is an in built firewall provided for your router and this is how you can do it:
- Log in with the app or web interface of the router and do this as an administrator. Search for the configuration page where the options like firewall or security can be. If such page is there, then ensure that you have an in built firewall for the router. In order to enable it, go for step 3.
- In case there is no relevant page, it suggests that there is also no in built firewall. In that case, installation of a firewall can bring great result. This will protect your PC from malicious attacks as well as hacking attempts that can be conducted against the home network.
- For enabling firewall, you have to go for firewall or security page and this is located at step 1.
- Locate firewall that is an entry label one or choose a similar one.
- There will be an enabled, select or similar type of button and click on it.
- Then save your settings as well as restart router.
How you can keep people prevented from accessing your WiFi?
Once someone gets the access to WiFi network that you are using, such a person will continue to use until and unless you prevent him to do so. This is what we call the kick off show! These people are called as the freeloaders and they can create a big mess for you. They can even increase the internet bill to a great extent.
And when these intruders carry malicious behavior, then they can even the same WiFi network for different illegal purposes. And once their activities are traced, you will get blamed and can come across serious legal consequences. In case you find that the speed of the internet has gone down all of sudden or the internet bills is rising very fast, then you should first check for that unwelcome guest. So, here is how you can kick off these freeloaders:
Step 1: Change the password of the WiFi
If you are suspecting that there are freeloaders, then immediately change the password of the WiFi. And with this much of work, those devices which are used to access the WiFi will get disconnected. And this can even occur with your devices. Though it takes some time to connect your devices again, but the result can be rewarding for you on a long run. At least those freeloaders will not be able to access your WiFi further and that surely brings a great respite.
And in case there is someone who is trying to hack the network, you should change the SSID name of the router. Further, it will become tough for them to find that network and hacking it will become impossible.
Step 2: Use the web interface of the router
When you change the password and it doesn’t help much or you want to keep certain people away from the WiFi network, you can go for the router settings from where you can block these intruders. And this you can do while going for the web interface of the router.
- In order to trace these people, you should disconnect all the devices that you use and leave just one connected that can help you trace them. At this point, you will be using just one device and those intruders will be using their devices. So, it will become easier for you to trace them and their devices.
- There is a MAC address for your device. Find it first. This will help you to block only those devices that you are not using.
- As an administrator, log in with the router interface.
- There is a section called as WiFi connections. Here you can find all the current connections that are running on the network. This section can also appear before you as the connected devices and in similar names. There are certain routers for which this section can be traced at the parental controls.
- Review those connected devices. While doing this keep the MAC address in mind and this will help you block those devices that don’t have it. In that case, only your device will remain connected and you can block others.
- To block those devices, choose the connection which you prefer to block. You can even do this while going for the Remove option. You can find this option at the top of bottom of the page.
- Then save changes, you can even change the existing password with the new one at this point to add additional protection.
Step 3: Reset the router
If you want to disconnect all those intruders’ devices from the WiFi network, then reset the router to the factory settings. After doing so, again you will need to reconnect your devices and this might take some time and effort. How you can do this?
- First of all, you need to disconnect that Ethernet cable that is connected with the router and modem.
- There is a reset button given on the router. This usually stays right at the back side of the device. Sometime it can be tough to find this button. But it is there. Don’t worry, you will get it.
- Once found, press as well as hold that button for a minimum of thirty seconds. This holding time depends on the type of router that you are using.
- Once the recommended pressing time is off, leave that button and wait for the router to turn on automatically.
- Once the router is turned on, connect it with the modem.
- There are specific instructions on how you can connect the router with the wireless connections. Follow them.
Step 4: Call the ISP or the internet service provider
Try these things and in case you feel that you are not able to find ample protection, call the ISP or the internet service provider. They can come up with the security settings that will keep your WiFi network protected from the hackers and you will be able to kick off those intruders in the best possible manner.
Should I be a tech savvy when it comes to securing the WiFi?
The methods applied to secure the WiFi are very simple and you can implement them easily. For this there is no need to be a tech savvy.
Should I use a very strong and unique password to keep is protected?
Yes surely! Always use the password that is at least twenty characters long. This password must have letters, numbers as well as symbols. This will keep the hackers guessing for your password and you can use the WiFi network securely.
How often should I check for the firmware updates?
Whenever you want, you can perform this check. In fact, you can do this on a regular interval. If the router lacks the auto update option, then you have to perform this check at least once or twice in a month. Never use the outdated firmware. This might lead to unwanted security risks.
The above mentioned methods and tips are cost effective and simple ways to safeguard the WiFi network. And when you use these methods, you can keep the wireless network safe and protected from hackers. Always use the best quality routers coming to the market. For this you may need to spend little additional cash but the security level for your WiFi network will always remain on top.