Here are a number of ways that you can use to make sure that your Wi-Fi at home is as secure as you can make it, so that not only others cannot use your connection but also nobody can access your files and gain private information about yourself.
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- Make sure that you have enabled encryption on your router, as using 128-bit encryption or greater makes your Wi-Fi network more secure. In fact, it is advisable to use WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), as this has proven to be more secure than WEP (Wired Equivalent Policy).
- Create a router access password. The best option is to utilize a random sequence of characters as opposed to using the factory defaults, as anyone who gets access to your router settings can disarm the security settings that you had created. If you set a random sequence, you will only have to type it once so it isn’t that complicated. In fact, all you have to do is copy and paste the password onto the router and your local settings, meaning you will not need to type it every time, just the once.
- Remember to create a hard password to guess, so do not use simple passwords for your WPA or your router, but rather, use something that uses upper case and lower case letters numbers, and be careful not to use any special characters as some routers do not support them. So remember that the longer the key that you create, the better it is for your security. So avoid things like 123456789 or abcd123 and use a little effort to create a more difficult password to crack.
- Remember: if you do use a weak key, even WPA can be cracked in a day using a variety of precomputed tables and dictionary attacks. So be creative in creating your own totally unique and random key. It doesn’t matter how you do this maybe you could write the alphabet lower and upper case on separate pieces of paper, mix them up and choose from the pile, or whatever method it is that you decide upon – just make sure it is random and that is cannot be easily cracked.
- Alter the service set identifier that is the network name or the SSID (Service Set Identifier), and please do not use the default, but alter it to something that is unique, as a default SSID can be used by hackers as a way to identify the fact that the network might have been created by a novice and that other things such as passwords could have been left as the default ones, thus making it very easy for hackers to access your network. So use a name that you can remember and easily identify as yours. The SSID has no influence on the security of your network, but you really don’t to make it easy or obvious for any hacker to gain access to your network.
- Another step you can undertake is to enable the MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering on your router or access point. Please don’t confuse MAC with the computer model, as the MAC address is a unique code to every wireless network. What MAC address filtering does is register the MAC hardware of your networked devices and will only permit known MAC addresses to connect to your network. MAC should not be used instead of a proper WPA encryption as hackers can and often do clone MAC addresses so they can enter your network.
- Now, maybe you are thinking this: why don’t I just disable my SSID broadcast? Well, it must it be said that this is a bad idea. Yes, it would make it invisible or such like but for any fairly determined hacker it is fairly easy to find your SSID, and also, you are constantly making your computer broadcast your SSID anywhere you are as it is trying to connect to your network. Anyone could basically copy your router with your SSID and hack into your network that way.
- Make sure that you have disabled the remote login on your router or access point. A router worm can force itself into your router with the remote login enabled, and then it is not difficult for the worm/virus to crack the password. Most routers have it disabled as default, so just check that it is disabled.
By Masha Winget