Every one of us uses Wireless Internet or WiFi, but how many of us would have ever thought that it also opens a door for risks from hackers, scammers, or identity thieves, or even a few malwares.
An unsecured WiFi router could be a jackpot for hackers to access your private information and gain access to your network. And by unsecured WiFi, I mean a public IP address or no unique WiFi password; it can allow anyone with a wireless-enabled device to gain access.
You may think that if you have free Internet, you are okay sharing it with anyone unknown but using the same wireless connection allows an unfamiliar to access your sensitive information like your emails, banking information, and maybe even your smart home's daily schedule with where you are going and what you are eating.
The first thing is always to change the default passwords that come with the routers and replace them with some strong passwords that no one can guess. Never name your router with something that can easily be identified to be yours. Also, don't choose some complex passwords that you cannot remember, as it's essential to keep updating your router passwords time to time to ensure that it is safe and protected.
The very basic router encryption types include WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
WEP is the least secure and is easy to crack, as, for every data packet that it transmits, it uses the same encryption key.
WPA scrambles the encryption key, hence cannot be interpreted by hackers. But it is still not the most secure as it is mainly based on the WEP principle.
WPA2 is the fastest of all as it scrambles not only the encryption key but also bans the usage of TKIP, which is less secure than AES.
So, always use WPA2 with AES if available in your router.
Here are some tips that you should keep in mind while setting up your router −
Always keep your router up-to-date with new firmware present in the market as it helps save your router against security threats.
Change your login credentials and router password regularly after a fixed interval of time so that even if hackers have got the idea of your network, changing them would make their task more difficult.
Always use WPA2 with AES to secure your wireless network, as WPA2 is the strongest and most secure of all for the reasons mentioned above.
Permanently Disable WPS, as it allows any new device to pair up with your router automatically; hence disabling it will reduce the chance of hacking.
Always schedule your wireless network's online schedule as it will disable the network when not in use, and hence in this way, it won't show up in the hacker's list.
Always use smart home devices in guest mode as in guest mode, it won't share any of the information of the primary connected devices like your user phone, and you will also not have to share your primary network password with your guests.
Use a virtual private network or VPN when you visit any suspicious sites, making your online actions virtually untraceable.
Always use a firewall to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic and block specific traffic that you find suspicious.
Install and use strong antivirus and security software and keep updating it regularly.
Especially now that we have many homes connected to WiFi and in each house, many devices are connected to that router, it would be wise to stay a little alert and protect all the device's data by just adding a few minutes of selecting the device's correct home WiFi router settings.