Most people, when they think of their home security, focus on sturdy deadbolts, locks on their windows, and perhaps an alarm system. But not many give much thought to the security of their Wi-Fi. Most IT companies – such as TechQuarters, who provide managed IT London businesses rely on – recommend implementing as much security for your Wi-Fi as you can afford to have – and the fortunate thing is that a lot of the security measures you can take are free, and you don’t need to be a tech expert to do them. It all comes down to your Router.
Your Router Settings
The box that you’re given when you subscribe to a Wi-Fi service – AKA your router – usually comes with several software & hardware security settings built into them. The problem is that most service providers don’t turn those settings by default, so if you want to have that extra security, you need to turn it on yourself.
To turn those settings on, you need to access your router settings. This is relatively easy to do, it requires you to enter your router’s IP address into the URL of your chosen web browser. The IP address looks something like 00.00.00.00 – it is a set of numbers broken into 4 blocks. Your router’s IP address can be found through the Network & Internet settings on your computer.
Once you enter your router’s IP address into your web browser, it takes you to the router settings – just log in with the same details you use to connect to your Wi-Fi, you will be able to access a range of useful settings to boost network security. Below are some of the settings you can enable:
1. Customize your Network Credentials
The login you use to connect to your Wi-Fi is a default name and password, that is usually printed on the back of your router. There are a number of ways that a hacker could find out your Wi-Fi login – even by spying your password through the window, or using social engineering to convince people to reveal their Wi-Fi password. Additionally, hackers can even crack passwords using what is called a ‘brute force attack’ – the theory being that, if a hacker makes enough password guesses, they will find the right combination. There are also ways for hackers to break the security algorithm of the router, giving them access to a network.
Customising your Wi-Fi login is a good idea. By renaming your Wi-Fi name, hackers won’t be able to match the default password printed on your router with the name of your network – this will make your Wi-Fi less of a target for hackers.
While the passwords that are generated for modern routers are generally quite strong, it is still possible to create even stronger passwords – it is possible to create a password that would take centuries for even computer to crack.
2. Create a Guest Network
If you create a very complex password, it might be hard for people to remember. It won’t matter for you, because you only need to connect your devices once and you will be remembered by the network. For guests, however, entering a long and complex Wi-Fi password might seem like a chore – but an even bigger problem is the risk of having lots of devices connected to your network. The more devices on a network, the more opportunities there are for malware to be accidentally downloaded to one of the devices, and this could endanger all devices on the network.
The solution is simple: Create a guest network for friends and family to use. This doesn’t require any extra hardware or expenses; a guest network can be created via the router settings, and you can also limit the information and assets that devices on a guest network have access to, which helps protect devices on the primary network.
3. Be Careful Where You Place Your Router
This is probably the most simple step you can take. You’ll notice that your Wi-Fi signal drops out the further you are from your router; the inverse of this is that hackers can often get within signal range of your router, especially if you live in flats or semi-detached housing. If they are able to connect to your Wi-Fi from outside your house, they could start cracking your password, or attempt to steal data that is in transit (this means data that’s being sent between a device and a network). Placing your Wi-Fi router next to a window can mean people outside have a better chance of accessing your Wi-Fi, so try and find a spot in your house the provides connection to every room, but which makes it harder for people beyond the confines of your house to connect to your network.