The risk is real.
Don’t get us wrong – we love the speed and flexibility that comes with using a wireless network as much as the next guy. But with the potential threat posed by hackers and piggybackers online, properly securing that Wi-Fi network is crucial to the overall cybersecurity of your home or business.
From data-breaches to skyrocketing monthly fees, even the most stable of connections is in jeopardy if not set-up and maintained accordingly. This includes free or public Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi connections that are not password-protected, and even some seemingly secure wireless broadband networks.
Feeling nervous? Don’t worry just yet. There are a couple of simple things you can do to strengthen a secure Wi-Fi network:
Create a Strong, Unique Password
It seems like a no-brainer, sure, but you would be shocked to find how many people still use the factory presets for their router login.
Like any other online account, for the best protection be sure to choose an admin login and password that uses numbers and symbols, is at least 12 characters long, and doesn’t rely on anything easily guess-able (like your dog’s name).
Change the Name of Your Network
Also known as the SSID (or a Service Set Identifier), changing the default name of your Wi-Fi network is an easy way to ward off potential piggybackers attempting to access your broadband.
Not only will changing your SSID from the default settings make it more difficult for hackers to know what kind of router you have, but staying away from identifying names like “Joe’s Home Wi-Fi” and opting for a more obscure title will deter targeted attacks in the future. To learn how to change the name of your Wi-Fi network, click here.
Enable WPA-2 Encryption
Most standard routers offer a number of different encryption methods to ensure a safe Wi-Fi network. The most common include WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), and WPA-2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access-2).
For the most secure network, we recommend using your router’s setting configurations to enable WPA-2 encryption, which, though only available on devices manufactured after 2006, is much harder to crack.
Reduce Your Range
If you’re living in a smaller space, chances are you could reduce the range of your network by changing your router’s modem, placing it in a shoebox, or keeping it as close to the center of your home as possible without feeling a decline in service, making it that much more difficult for those outside your space to access your broadband.
Schedule Your Use
When you’re not home, disable your Wi-Fi – it’s as simple as that.
Especially if you often leave home for long periods of time. Doing so will discourage more malicious attacks from hackers who may be aware of when you are away.
Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
Just like any other device, maintaining the relevancy of your router’s firmware is necessary for the health of your wireless signal. Unlike other devices, many routers do not update their software automatically, so setting aside time to regularly check for updates is a must.
Manage Your Devices
Whether that means disabling remote access, setting up a separate Wi-Fi for guest devices, or even filtering MAC addresses via a router whitelist (MAC addresses are very easy to spoof, by the way), the importance of managing which devices can access your network cannot be overstated.
Play It Safe
A secure Wi-Fi network is just as important today as it has ever been, and try as they might, not all wireless routers are safe right out of the box. Build a safer Wi-Fi connection in your home or business by strengthening your passwords, updating your software, and following these tips.