Have you ever asked yourself how secure your wireless network is? Or how many suspicious devices may be connected to your network? Do you know if someone is sniffing on your Wi-Fi, stealing your data, identity, passwords and credit card numbers?
Truth is your wireless network likely has several vulnerabilities unless you’ve read an article like this before and took action.
Here are 6 steps you can take now to betters secure your wireless network:
1. Change your router default password
This a must in the first line of defense. All new routers come with a default password which are freely available on the internet and very easy to remember. Normally the username is admin and the password is admin. But did you know that there are websites where you can find the default password for a router? Just check out RouterPasswords.com and do a search for your router, that should tell you how easy it is to find the default password for a router.
Furthermore, if a person can connect to your physical network, using your router’s default password, they can log on to your router with zero effort and view your wireless password. If your router still uses its default password, change it ASAP! Consult your router’s documentation if you are not sure how to change its default password.
Create a strong password with a mix of numeric, alpha and symbolic characters. Password length should be between 8 and 16 characters, or longer in length, and should not be obvious to you (such as favorite sports teams or cars, parents, wife or kids name, birthdays, etc).
2. Rename the default SSID
Another setting you should change immediately is your router’s SSID (Wireless Network Name). It is what you will see when looking at the list of available connections.
Most routers come with default SSIDs that can give away its model and/or brand. For example, some
Linksys routers have default SSIDs that look like Linksys#####. And it’s no different for TP-Link, Cisco, Netgear, Belkin — they all have router models that come with default SSIDs that give away their brands. This can be used to crack your network’s password (unless you’re using a really long network password)
Remember, if a hacker knows what kind of router you are using, it becomes a bit easier for them to break in.
3. Enable encryption
Encryption is a must-use feature on all routers. Neglecting to use encryption is like leaving all of your doors and windows open all of the time — everything you do can be seen by anyone who cares enough to look.
it will only takes less than 30 seconds to enable encryption in your router settings. And when you do, make sure you use WPA2 Personal mode if it’s available, otherwise use WPA Personal. No matter what, do not use WEP encryption because it’s outdated and easily hackable.
4. Create a strong wireless network password
Along with creating a strong network name that isn’t on the list of the most common SSIDs, you should create a strong wireless password. Remember a shorter length password is more likely to be hacked than a longer one so make your password longer, the maximum password length for WPA2-PSK is 64 characters. Aim for a minimum of 13 characters with a healthy mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters (e.g. @, %, $, !, etc).
5. Enable the wireless router’s firewall
Most wireless routers have a built-in firewall that examines incoming network data and blocks anything that’s deemed unsafe. You should consider enabling and configuring the built-in firewall (see your router manufacturer’s support site for details). It’s probably enabled by default, but check and make sure it’s on.
6. Turn off “admin via wireless” on your wireless router
The best way to prevent hackers from taking control of the administrative features of your router is by turning off the “admin via wireless” configuration setting.
Disabling “Admin Via Wireless” ensures that only someone who is connected to your router via an Ethernet cable can access the administrative functions of your wireless router. This will help prevent anyone from turning off your security features such as wireless encryption and your firewall.
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