We all know what a great thing Wi-Fi is, an easy and low cost way to share our Internet without having to get tangled up in a mess of cables! However, using Wi-Fi also means that someone can use your network for more malicious purposes.
Failing to set up your network correctly can allow malicious people access to your Internet connection, and access to any shared files on your devices. It is also possible they could eavesdrop on what you view online, possibly getting your username and even your passwords in the process. Because of this, it is vital that you protect your network. In this article we going to go through a few helpful tips on how you can adequately protect your Wi-Fi network.
The first thing to do is to change your router setting from the default settings that come when you get your router. It may be easier to just leave the settings on default, but doing so opens up all sorts of security holes.
The first thing you want to do is choose a unique name for your network (SSID), and then choose a password that cannot be guessed easily. Configuring the security settings of the router is also critically important. WEP is an older method of securing your network that is easily bypassed with today’s technology, the one you want to look out for is WPA and WPA2.
You should also be changing your router’s password often, so if that someone does manage to gain access once, they cannot do it again. Changing the password often will also reduce the number of people who actually know your password, maintaining security overall.
The second step in this process is to make sure that every machine that uses your Wi-Fi network is also protected. If people with malicious desires manage to put a virus on a machine that uses your Wi-Fi network, all of the work you did in step one will not be effective against an attack from inside the network itself.
To combat this, it would be prudent of you to practice safe web browsing habits, such as not installing software from random websites that you do not completely trust, and taking the time to install software updates on your machines can also help prevent them from being compromised. Whilst installing software updates can disrupt your work, they often address critical security vulnerabilities that can increase the overall security of both your machine and your network.
Another way in which you can secure your network more, is to limit the range of your wireless network by repositioning your router. For example, if you are near a parking lot, a park or even a public place, you may consider moving your router to the far side of your home or business.
By ensuring that the majority of your Wi-Fi signal is inside your home/business, you would in effect, force people to look elsewhere in order to “break into” a Wi-Fi network. If you’re away from home and you will not need your home Wi-Fi for a few days, you should always turn off your router. This had the added benefit of both saving power and preventing hackers from having the time to try and gain access to your network.
This part is a bit more cumbersome than others, but it offers another level of security for your Wi-Fi network.
Each device will have what is known as an MAC address, a number that uniquely identifies that piece of hardware. Configuring your router to only allow access to devices that you personally own, provides a vital level of security for your network.
Running a home or business network whilst keeping it secure can be a time-consuming process, but the risks of not protecting your network adequately are not to be underestimated in today’s world. Keeping your personal and private files safe in the prying eyes of others is worth that little bit work at the start.
By ensuring that you use strong passwords, both on your router and your gadgets, running the best antivirus software you can find and installing the software updates, you’re well on your way to having a safe and secure network.