How to Secure a WiFi Network – Secure Your WiFi
Security has become a very important aspect of digital wellbeing. Even the newest of computer and mobile phone users know of the potential viruses and other bad news people can get while browsing the internet.
It is not the internet, however, the single thing that should worry a user. Wireless communication has become a normal way of connecting to the internet, otherwise known as WiFi. WiFi is a great and simple way of getting access to the world, but also one which can be exploited. One might ask how do I secure my WiFi? Following is a detailed answer to that question, one that contains multiple steps.
Private Versus Public WiFi – The Latter is Out of Your Hands
One of the first concepts to understand about WiFi is the private versus public connection. Public WiFi is the type you get in parks, cafes and libraries, universities, places which are (almost) open to everyone. In these situations, the best thing you can do is use a VPN to secure your connection to the internet from prying eyes.
Private connections such as those at work or home can be made more secure with the next steps.
Using Encryption – WPA2 in Most Cases
Encrypted networks are a common thing, rather, most newer routers come with a WPA2 password. Standard passwords which manufacturers choose are often far too complicated but if they follow a consistent scheme, hackers can start to guess them at some point.
Changing the password for your WiFi connection is one of the first things to do, by making it something stronger, which will most likely deviate from the manufacturer’s password. Enabling WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access 2) if it is not enabled is recommended.
Create Visitor Networks – Separate Personal Data from Guests
Most new WiFi routers are able to create more than a single access point (what your devices perceive and what they connect to). Having an access point for guests and visitors is a safe way of making sure that your data cannot be accessed.
This should be done with range extenders and mesh wifi, if such a system is used. There should always be another access point, adequately named such as NetworkNameGuest, so that visitors will know which one to connect to. It should also have a password, so that prying eyes do not connect, but that can be solved with another step.
Turn Off Network Name Broadcasting
Once one sets up their home network, the name of the network (SSID) should not be broadcasted to everyone. If guests do visit your home or office, you can simply tell them the name of the access point, as well as the password.
The pain of manually typing the name of the network is nothing compared to a data breach, malware and other harmful things which may enter through an unsecured WiFi connection. This should be done with any router, new or old, or even a USB WiFi adapter.
Virtual Private Networks – VPNs Are Very Helpful
When browsing for things one shouldn’t, or rather, when their authorities deem it illegal, such as file sharing over a torrent, VPNs are a common solution. But, VPNs have been created for a different purpose, that of security.
One of the ways to have a secure WiFi router is by taking more steps after securing it, such as using a VPN if you want to be extra careful. This is particularly important if not using an already established, safe, home or work connection.
Firewalls and Antiviruses – Extra Safety
If you were wondering how to secure your WiFi, one of the steps to take is to have a solid antivirus software at the ready. Most operating systems come with default firewalls, such as Windows 10 and almost all Linux distributions, but downloading something like Avast, Kaspersky, Norton, Webroot, Bitdefender, Eset, McAfee should help increase security on any system, mobile or desktop.
Enabling a firewall is relatively easy on most systems, and you can also monitor what connects and uses a network connection, using software like Glasswire or something open source like NMap. This is also a good way of diagnosing if you keep losing internet connection.
Enable MAC Address Filtering – Only Certain Addresses Have Access
This can do wonders for security if you enable it because nobody other than the selected devices can connect. You can have only your laptop, mobile phone and desktop computer connect, and nobody else, for your main network.
You could add that layer of security for your guest access points, especially if you have both the 2.4 and 5 GHz variants (typical for modern routers with faster WiFi). It might be a nuisance to add every guest’s MAC (Media Access Control) address, though that very process can be avoided completely if the main access point is secure (the one which the guests will not access).
Change the Default Router Address
192.168.1.1 is often the default address but everybody knows that, which can lead to a problem. Changing the address to something a bit more complicated or rather, anything else, for that matter, will dissuade any hackers who attempt getting access to the router.
Disable Remote Administrator Access
This is important if one wants to be safe from people who somehow do gain access to the WiFi connection even without your permission and password. Hackers can brute force (to an extent), their way into an unsecured router with remote admin access enabled, or any other kind of cloud configuration. This should be disabled, to keep the router and WiFi safe.
Keep the Router Software Updated
The last step in this how to secure WiFi guide is to keep the router software updated. Check with the manufacturer to see whether there are any new updates and keep the software as modern as possible. Router updates are almost always security updates (or interface updates, which can help the user interact with the device).
Conclusion and Summary – WiFi Security in Several Steps
In order to keep your WiFi secure and safe, you should follow these steps, starting from the network name and password, to having a guest access point, to everything else. Follow these steps and you should have a more secure WiFi connection, which should last you a while (unless a virus is downloaded by the administrator).
Remember, having a good setup is key but staying aware and mindful while browsing is as important.
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