There has been a huge growth in use of internet through different mediums. One of the largely used one is WIFI. People now-a-days setup wifi connection at their homes and offices to use internet for different purpose. But they are unaware of the security risks of the same. An unsecured Wi-Fi router running on the default manufacturer settings could be a liability when it comes to hackers and Wi-Fi squatters accessing your private information and burdening your broadband.
If your Wi-Fi network isn’t secured properly — a public IP address, no unique Wi-Fi password — you could be letting anyone with a wireless-enabled device gain access. You might not be worried about someone using your wireless connection, but the real risk is exposing sensitive information you send and receive — your emails, banking information, and maybe even your smart home’s daily schedule — to cyber-criminals.
Basic router security
There should always be a strong password on every router to keep you secure from the bad guys out there.. Now a days, the routers come with default settings and default passwords, that work as plug and play systems, but you should change these passwords as soon as you start using them. Keep a note that a complex, unique, and tough to guess password will give you some good sort of security. It will take only some couple of minutes to set it up, you just need to follow the instructions, which varies router to router.
Depending on your router, you might have options for different kinds of encryption. The most common router encryption types are WEP, WPA and WPA2. Commercial routers from brands like Netgear, Linksys, and ASUS often include:
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP): This is the oldest and most popular form of router encryption available. However, it is the least secure of all encryption protocols. It uses radio-waves that are easy to crack. For every data packet that is transmitted it uses the same encryption key. With the help of automated software, this information can easily be analyzed.
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA): The Wi-Fi Alliance came up with WPA to offer an encryption protocol without the shortcomings of WEP. It scrambles the encryption key thereby getting rid of the problems caused by hackers cracking the radio-waves. This is also a less secure form of encryption, partly because of legacy hardware and firmware that still used WEP as their main protocol. However, it is a significant improvement over WEP.
Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2): This encryption type is currently the most secure and most recent form of encryption available. You should always select WPA2 if it is available. It not only scrambles the encryption key but is also does not allow the use of Temporal Key Integrity Protocol or TKIP which is known to be less secure then AES.
Advanced Encryption Standard: When possible, you’ll want to use AES on top of WPA2 or WPA. This is the same type of encryption used by the federal government to secure classified information. Routers made after 2006 should have the option to enable this on top of WPA2.
Always follow the below rules:
Update your router with new firmware and keep it up to date
Updating your router’s firmware is an important security measure to help protect your router against the latest threats. Most modern routers allow you to enable notifications to prompt you when the manufacturer makes patches and updates to the router’s firmware available. Some manufacturers may even push the update automatically to your hardware, so you don’t have to do anything. However, there are some routers that have updates within the settings option. In this case, the user has to make sure that the firmware is manually updated regularly.
Change your login credentials and router password on regular basis
Traditional routers come with a default password created by the manufacturer. While it may look complex and resistant to hacking, there is a good chance most models of the same router share the same password. These passwords are often easy to trace or find on the internet. Make sure you change these passwords on setup and also ensure regular password update of your router.
Always use WPA2 to secure your wireless network
Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, better known as WPA2, is a commonly used network security technology used on wireless routers.
It is one of the most secure encryption options available in the market since 2006. WPA2 scrambles the traffic going in and out of the router. That means even if someone is within range and can see traffic, all they see is the encrypted version.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) was created with the intention of making the user experience easier and quicker when connecting new devices to the network. It works on the idea that you press a button on the router and a button on the device. This makes both devices pair automatically.
The user has the option to use a personal identification number, or PIN, to setup the device to create a connection. This eliminates the use of the 16-character WPA password that most routers use.
However, because of the PIN, WPS earned a bad reputation for being insecure. The PIN is an eight-digit number that can easily be hacked by repeatedly using various combinations of the usernames and passwords. This is carried out with the help of software. This kind of an attack is called a brute force attack.
Most routers allow users to disable WPS. Even if the PIN option appears to be disabled, it is wise to disable WPS. In recent years, it was discovered that many routers from reputed manufacturers allowed PIN-based authentication even when it appeared to be disabled.
Get rid of any risky or unverified services
It would be wise to disable remote access to your router when you are actively connected to it.
Take UPnP, for example. Universal Plug and Play or UPnP is an easy way to allow devices to find other devices on your network. It can also alter the router to allow devices from other networks to access your device. However, it has helped hackers to introduce malware and viruses by making them bypass the firewall. Mirai Botnet is an example of one such attack.
Other router security helpers
Aside from your router settings and making sure to use your Wi-Fi network’s security features, there are some other options, like using a virtual private network, in addition to device security and identity theft protection in the form of all-in-one protection like the NEW Norton 360 with LifeLock.
Use a virtual private network or VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts connections between devices, creating online privacy and anonymity. A VPN can mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy of the data you send and receive, even on secured Wi-Fi hotspots.
Always use a firewall
A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and allows or blocks specific traffic. It is an important security feature to look for when selecting a router. For the online safety of your network and devices, it’s smart to never disable a firewall.
Install and use a strong antivirus and security software
Setting up security for your wireless network doesn’t take much time at all and will do much to help protect you against hackers. Cyber-criminals work tirelessly to gain access to your personal and financial information. A small investment in security software could go a long way.
Even if you don’t have neighbors you want to prevent from borrowing your Wi-Fi, you’ll be protecting yourself from more dangerous snoops. Especially now that so many homes are connected and various devices are using Wi-Fi, you’ll be wise to protect all of the information those devices contain. Don’t take chances. Just a few minutes of selecting the right home Wi-Fi router settings can mean all the difference to your connected world.
If you are still worried about securing your network from invaders, and want to secure your network, or if you are looking for network security experts, get in touch with us today! our team will be happy helping you out.
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