While we think that an antivirus or internet security suite installed will protect your PC from cyber threats, your home Wi-Fi network is usually left out unguarded from unauthorized logins and intuitions. This allows hackers to gain access and control different parameters of your Wi-Fi router.
Have you noticed unusual internet slowdowns, or that your usage quota has mystically been used up? Then it’s time to tinker with the router’s security settings and protect your network. Before we start, you will need to access the router page of your home network. The router settings are usually accessed by entering “192.168.1.1” on the browser, followed by hitting the ENTER key. You will be prompted for the username and password, which mostly will be “admin” by default.
However, the username, password and the router default address can vary based on router brand and internet operator. We cannot demonstrate which part of the settings to access from which page, because the UI differs from different manufacturers.
Change your Wi-Fi username and password
The first and foremost thing to do is to change the default Wi-Fi name and password to something unique. Usually, newly installed routers will have the router model name (example: D-Link) as the SSID. If your network operator hasn’t done this, your neighbor hacker could launch a man-in-the-middle attack scheme to break though. Do not use obvious or predictable usernames and passwords at any cost.
Change your admin login and password
This is basically the admin username and password that you came across when hitting the “192.168.1.1” address for the router settings page. This is a very crucial that the majority of users ignores to check. And the most predictable username and password is “admin”.
Change the Wi-Fi encryption protocol to WPA-2
This is perhaps the most important factor of the router based security that almost everyone and even network technicians ignore to activate. Your router has an encryption protocol that protects your network from hackers. The protocols include WEP, WPA-Personal and WPA-2. Most of the times, routers are set to WEP and WPA, which is now a day, vulnerable to intrusions. Keep in mind that there are free softwares on the internet that even allow a normal user to break through a WEP/WPA protected Wi-Fi.
WPA-2 is the industry’s current standard and the most secure encryption that’s tough to crack by hackers. Head to the wireless security on the router settings page, and change the protocol to WPA-2. You can also change the encryption from the Windows Wi-Fi network page as well. Keep in mind that older routers may not support WPA-2, so ensure that you buy a modern router.
Each of your wireless devices that’s connected to the router has its own unique ID called a MAC address, much like the p. o. box of your house. However, a hacker can spoof his own system’s MAC address to mimic your system, confusing the router to think it’s you. Head to the firewall settings to activate “Anti-spoofing”.
Update your router firmware settings
Router manufacturers will mostly release firmware updates to improve the stability of their routers, and enhance security features. Be sure to check for firmware updates when possible. The update files will be available from the manufacturer’s website, and installed with their Windows based application.
Monitor the list of connected devices
This is something you should keep an eye on. Users can actually monitor the list of devices that’s connected to the router via the settings page. If there are any devices that you don’t recognize, you can revoke its session out of your router. The table will mostly be available under the security tab of router settings.