A standard wireless network is the connection of an Internet access point (a cable from the Internet service provider) to a router so as to enable devices connects to that network.
Most people often forget about their wireless router once it’s set up as long as the devices connected to the Wi-Fi functions with ease.
Unprotected Wi-Fi networks can be accessed by anyone in close proximity. This gives them access to your personal data and makes the network vulnerable to hackers.
Some security steps need to be put in place to prevent cybercriminals from breaking into your home Wireless network and compromising your personal data.
There is nothing that will guarantee 100% safety from skilled and dedicated hackers but you don’t have to make it really easy for them. The following tips will make you more protected than most home Wi-Fi users.
Choose A Strong And Unique Router Admin Username And Password
Each wireless router comes with a pre-defined password and username- if they come with passwords at all. It is quite easy for hackers to guess the password, especially if they are familiar with the manufacturer.
The generic password is needed for you to access the router the first time but it is important you change it after. The best thing is to use a password that is 20 characters long which includes upper Case, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
You can always reset the router to its factory settings to get the default admin info if you forget the new username/password.
Every wireless router comes with various encryptions such as WEP, WPA or WPA2. (Wired Equivalent Privacy)WEP is an ancient encryption language according to modern standards and it can be easily hacked in seconds by mediocre hackers.
WPA provides more security but the best encryption is WPA2.
(Wi-Fi Protected Access)WPA2 has multiple variants also. There are the TKIP and AES.
The TKIP a little bit old and it is not very secure. The AES is the best encryption method and it is used by many governments around the globe.
You may need a firmware upgrade to add WPA2 encryption if are using an older router.
Enabling WPA2 functionality varies with router brands, check the manufacturer’s manual of your router to know how to enable WPA2 wireless encryption on your router.
You’ll need to enter a network key for the encrypted wireless network. This password differs from the router’s password — this is the password you need to enter on the devices you connect to the Wi-Fi.
Using the default network name and password will make it easier for hackers to crack your encryption.
Create a unique and lengthy network name even if it might be hard for you to remember.
For a strong password, make it long and unguessable and use a mixture of upper and lower case alphabets, number and symbols.
Place Filter On MAC Addresses
The MAC address is unrelated to an Apple Mac.
MAC (Media Access Control) is a unique address or identification which any device you connect to a network has.
For more protection, you can add to your wireless router’s settings the MAC Id of the devices you wish to connect so that only those devices can connect to the Wi-Fi network.
The MAC address of every device is different, so one MAC address will only allow that specific device to connect to the network.
It is, however, possible to hack a MAC address through spoofing if the attacker knows one of the MAC addresses of the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.
You must first make a list of all the devices you wish to connect to your network before enabling MAC address filtering.
Get the MAC ID of the devices then go to the administrative settings of your router and add the addresses to the MAC address filtering
To get the MAC address for computers, open Command Prompt, and type in ‘ipconfig/all”, your MAC address will be displayed beside the name “Physical Address”
The MAC addresses of mobile phones with Wireless function can be found under their network settings, though each device’s address varies.
Reduce The Range Of The Wireless Signal
Your wireless router may have a high range.
If you live in a small apartment, you can reduce the range of the signal through changing your router’s mode to 802.11g (instead of 802.11n or 802.11b) or by using an entirely different wireless channel.
You can also decrease the signal’s range by wrapping the router antennas with a foil or by placing the router in a shoe box or under a bed.
You can also reduce the signal by applying Anti- Wi-Fi paint.
It special Wi-Fi dampening paint has been developed by researchers to prevent neighbors from accessing your home Wi-Fi network without you encrypting the connection.
The paint contains chemicals that block the Wi-Fi by absorbing radio signals.
The implication of coating an entire room with this paint is that Wi-Fi signals can neither get in or out.
Enable The Firewall Of The Wireless Router
Most wireless routers come with a built-in firewall, if you haven’t enabled it already, you should consider doing that now.
Enabling the firewall makes your network less visible to hackers looking for preys.
You can reduce your network’s visibility by activating the “stealth mode” which comes with many router-based firewalls.
You should also test your firewall to be certain you have configured it properly.
Disable The “Admin Via Wireless” Feature On Your Router
You can also prevent hackers from accessing your wireless router by disabling the “admin via wireless” setting.
Only through physical connection via Ethernet cable can someone access your router’s admin feature when you disable the “admin via wireless” setting.
If your Wi-Fi encryption is compromised, this method prevents someone from accessing your router’s administrative functions by just driving by your house.
Upgrade Your Router’s Firmware
Some routers automatically update your firmware while others allow you to check for firmware directly.
Due to changes to the manufacturer’s servers, some of these feature checks might sometimes be broken.
It is probably a good idea to check the manufacturer’s site occasionally to be certain that your router’s model has the latest firmware.
No system is fully secure, a hacker might still be able to access your Wi-Fi network with enough time and resources but by following the steps above, your network will be a hard nut for him to crack and will most likely make the hacker leave your network for an easier target.