A good majority of homeowners and companies go to great lengths to keep their wifi network safe from unauthorized access.
Data breaches, ransomware threats, malware injections, and other internet threats are nothing new at this age. Single unauthorized access by cybercriminals can compromise an entire company’s or home’s sensitive data and privacy.
In most cases, adding a password to secure your home or business WI-FI isn’t usually enough.
Although wifi networks are relatively easy to set up and use, they are not always very secure due to numerous security loopholes often exploited by hackers.
Besides compromising your online privacy, unsecured wifi networks can give easy access to your neighbors and other strangers within your area.
Easily accessible wifi networks allow unauthorized users to use up your data, which translates to higher internet bills at the end of the month.
The good news is that securing your home or business WiFi network is not rocket science. Below are several important steps that will help improve the security of your wireless network.
Secure Your WiFi Network in Simple Steps
1. Change/Hide Your Default Wifi Network Name
Wi-Fi access points are configured by default to broadcast the name of your network. The default name is commonly known as SSID (Service Set Identifier).
Once the wifi network is installed, most people never bother to change the name of the network. They simply set it up and connect.
Once connected, the name will be broadcasted to anyone within the network range. And while the SSID can be hidden, smart hackers can still detect your network and gain access to all connected devices in the office or at home.
Furthermore, if a cybercriminal identifies the name of your wifi router’s manufacturer, they can easily exploit all known vulnerabilities of the specific model.
Changing the default name of your network is one of the simplest yet effective ways to block any unauthorized access and avoid attracting the attention of cybercriminals.
2. Set Up a Strong and Unique Password for Your Wifi Network
Every wifi router comes with a default admin username and password which allows you to set up and connect to the internet after installation.
However, these details are often too easy to crack and if a hacker identifies the manufacturer of the router, they can gain easy access to all connected devices.
As a rule of thumb, always change the pre-set wifi router username and password.
Both the username and password must be unique- with the password longer and hard to crack.
The password should include at least 20 characters which are composed of symbols, numbers, and letters.
A hard to guess username and password also means that your neighbors won’t be able to enjoy free wifi.
3. Use Stronger and Powerful Encryption
Wireless networks often come with different encryption languages. The most common ones include WEP, WPA, and WP2.
WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy encryption is an older and less secure encryption language.
Some Wifi access points still offer this older version and because it’s old and less secure, hackers are more likely to break into your network.
WPA2 is the newest upgrade from WPA. Both versions are highly secure as they completely encrypt all your wifi traffic, making it extremely hard for hackers to gain access.
If you use the same password to access the internet through your home or office, it’s important to use WPA encryption for better protection.
As long as the password is not shared with strangers, all your wifi connections should be safe and secure.
4. Turn Off Remote Access
Most modern wifi routers can only be accessed from connected devices. However, some models allow you to access your network without actively connecting your devices to the network.
This itself is a loophole
Turning off remote access will prevent cybercriminals from monitoring your online activities from devices that are not connected to your wifi network.
You can turn off remote access on your router by accessing the “Remote Administration” in the web interface.
5. Turn Off Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Server
Another way to secure your wifi network is by turning off the dynamic host configuration protocol, DHCP.
The DHCP is a type of program inside your router that dynamically assigns IP addresses to every connected device in your network. This allows the connected devices to communicate with other IP networks.
Experts have warned that the DHCP program is highly susceptible to hacks that allow malicious attackers to remotely execute malicious codes on devices connected to a specific network.
Turning off DHCP is another effective way to secure your network. A more suitable alternative would be using a static address on your router as it’s less prone to hacking.
6. Use a Firewall
Just like your computer firewall, the inbuilt router firewall shields your wifi network against any external threats.
The router firewall actively monitors the data coming in and going out of the network while sniffing for any malicious activities or threats.
The router firewall is often set by default, so you won’t be required to make any changes on your side.
If it’s not active, make sure you turn it on as per the manufacturer’s instruction as it provides an extra layer of protection for your network.
7. Ensure All Connected Devices Do Not Provide Easy Access to Your Network
You may have followed all the necessary steps to secure your wifi network, but the connected devices within the network may provide security loopholes for attackers.
For example, the connected devices may be exploited by malicious attackers if they are not up to date. It’s therefore important that the hardware and software of all connected devices, from phones to computers, are up to date.
Another way to harden the security of your devices is by installing antivirus and anti-malware security software.
There are numerous reputable antivirus programs available. Remember to keep the programs up to date for maximum security.
8. Keep Your Router’s Software Up-To-Date
To ensure optimal performance, the software of your router must be kept up to date. But apart from ensuring maximum performance, updated router software also enhances the device’s security.
You see, old software in a router may contain major flaws that may be easily exploited by malicious hackers.
Of course, as you may already know, even the smallest vulnerability in your wifi router poses a great security risk.
Most wireless routers do not auto-update their software. So it’s important to keep checking for new version releases and update them manually to ensure maximum safety and protection.
9. Enable MAC Authentication
Another way to secure your wifi is by simply enabling MAC authentication.
MAC address is a unique serial number that strictly allows access to a wireless network from only the set addresses by the admin.
MAC authentication provides an extra layer of protection to your network by preventing unauthorized access. This makes it extremely difficult for attackers to access your network.
10. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Your wifi network may be protected from unauthorized access, but your online connection may not be very secure since the hacker may still find a way to penetrate your network.
One of the best and most effective ways to secure your online connections and keep your data private is by using a VPN.
A VPN provides end-to-end encryption that helps keep all your data safe and block any malicious attackers from monitoring your online activity.
11. Provide Your Guests or Visitors with a Separate Network
After all, is said and done, the last thing you need is to have your guests or business visitors exposing your network details to malicious attackers.
It’s advisable to provide them with a separate access point. The good news is that most wifi routers allow you to run more than one wifi connection at the same time.
Of course, it’s important to ensure that the separate network for your guess is safe and secure as well. This means turning the WPA encryption on the network.
And of course, it makes sense to keep your main wifi network password private. You never know who might be lurking.
How to Secure Your Wi-Fi Network in Simple Steps- Final Thoughts
Your wifi network is one access point that attackers can easily gain access to without even requiring a password.
This is because unlike wired networks, wireless networks are often visible to anyone within the network range.
Enhancing your wifi network goes beyond setting a simple username and password.
With unsecured networks, a hacker may not even require a password to sniff your online activities and steal your sensitive data.
The good news is that making your wifi network secure is quite simple and won’t even take up much of your time.
Don’t make a hacker’s job easy by exposing your network. Also, don’t allow your neighbors to hike your internet bills by providing them easy access to your wifi.
Go ahead and implement these steps on how to secure your wifi network and you’re good to go.