The modern technology of the modern world offers us the advantages to live our lives and do our work more comfortably. We can access so many things very easily while sitting from our home or offices such as modern gadgets like our Smartphone, Tablet, PC or Laptop, etc every single day for work and personal uses. In order to get all the services from those devices, we need an internet connection that connects us with the web world to surf on it and access data or information from different sources. Even there are other things like Smart TV, AC, etc gadgets or machines in our home or offices are accessible through an internet connection.
To connect all the devices with the internet that we have in our possession, we use a WI-FI network that connects all the gadgets with a single internet network. Using a wireless network, even we can remotely control those devices. That opens up many opportunities to do our stuff pretty much easily. But, that opportunity also brings some major threats or problems to our systems and the data we have in them. Many people even do not realize those issues unless they face any. To prevent those threats, we must secure our WI-FI network as strong as possible for our own good.
Digital theft and hacking is common practice and the crime is increasing day by day. Hackers are just waiting for one single mistake from you to grab it for hacking your network. Giving them such loopholes is what we should avoid protecting our devices and data which very essential to us.
There are many ways to protect your WI-FI network and to make it strong enough to secure your device and data from attackers and viruses or malware. It is very important to secure your network to make it safe and virus-free.
Tips to secure and encrypt your WI-FI network security
Encrypt the Wi-Fi effectively
The Wi-Fi router translates the data fed in by the internet provider and sends it as an internet signal to various end devices that are connected to the router. It helps to organize a simultaneous exchange of files between devices and with the internet connection. All the devices connected to the router are operated within the network. To ensure the security of the Wi-Fi network and the devices that are connected with it, effective and strong encryption of the Wi-Fi is very useful to provide protection from hackers.
Weak encryption could be very easy for attackers to crack with their hacking tools and methods. It will give them access to your network and data to see or hack them and even can control your network settings for any intention.
To secure your data transmission, which will restrict data transmission only between the end device and router to read there are some encryption methods that you can use.
- WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
This is an outdated standard for network encryption. This method should not be used because of many security gaps that attackers can exploit.
- WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
Compared to the WEP method, WPA is based on a more complicated algorithm that uses an improved key calculation with new keys for each data packet. It uses 48-bit encryption.
- WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2)
This is the one that you can use for better encryption. This is the most used and recommended encryption method for Wi-Fi networks. You can also make it tougher with the WPA2 AES option.
- WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3)
It is the updated version of WPA2. It is becoming available for new devices and routers. It uses 192-bit for encryption which is very effective to block attackers with brute force dictionaries.
A Secure password for the router
People who are using a simple password to connect any device with the router then they should change it and set a strong password which must be very difficult to guess or crack. Having strong encryption will not provide you the required protection if your password is easy to break. As we usually share the password with our family members and close friends that visit frequently so the chances of spreading the password are there too, well that is another story for such a situation we can use Guest networks. Whatever, you must set up a secure password that must include words, numbers, and other signs and make it big. Then it will be difficult for anyone to crack the password or remember it for a long time to provide them to other people.
As we only have to connect a device one time with a password and access the router after that without it. So, people may forget it after some days. And do not share the password with everyone. Only share it with trusted people and try to restrict yourself from sharing it as much as possible.
Changing your Wi-Fi password frequently also can help you to protect your network from unwanted people and it is always good for security. Using the same one for a long time is not a wise decision as many people might know about it during that time and it can be hacked easily. Make a habit of a timely routine that can be weekly or monthly to change it for better security and privacy. It will also kick out unnecessary people who have used your network before.
Set up a new router name and admin password
This is one of the most initial things you must do if you want security for your Wi-Fi network connection. The network or user name and admin password of multiple same types of routers get the same name and password as a default from the router company. Buyers access this to control the console of the router. Now this password is not the one you use for connecting a device with the network. It will give you access to router settings and configuration which is completely your personal thing to access and set it as you want.
The given name and password are easily accessible as it usually provided with a package of the router. And being the same credentials for multiple routers, you can find it on the official company website of the router or simply by searching online. It is easy to get and hackers will know about it very comfortably. So, change the default password with a strong and long password that would be tough to access.
And also, the same thing could reveal information about your router to attackers that are the so-called SSID. The abbreviation SSID means “Service Set Identifier” and denotes the name of the network. In many cases the network name and device type are equivalent. It is advisable to adapt and personalize the SSID. In this case, potential attackers cannot easily find out which router is being used. This minimizes the risk that known weak points in the router can be exploited. So, change the network name to give it proper protection.
Hiding your Wi-Fi network adds more security
After setting up a new network name and password you can hide the network name or SSID for extra security and protection from hackers. At first, you certainly need to access it for visibility to connect the devices you want to use by connecting with the router. When you have completed the connections or you do not need the SSID to be visible for any reason, hide it so no one can see your network. Or else we can also manually add SSID to connect the Wi-Fi network, of course, for that you should remember it by heart.
Furthermore, this hiding trick will enable you to provide more security and privacy. No one from the surroundings of your home will be able to detect your network name and the hackers cannot find your network to try to hack it. Any person who might visit your home would most likely not ask for your password to connect his/her device because they cannot see it in their devices. Changing the name of your network will manage to assist the uniqueness of your router and hiding it from visibility can add more security to it.
If you could not remember your SSID, then you can always unhide it to connect any device further or for any other purposes. And then hide it once again when the need for it is not required. The process is not so hectic and you can do it at any time using your device.
Restrict the WPS feature
The full form of WPS is Wi-Fi Protected Setup. It is a much easier process to connect any device with the router network. It can be used for the people who do not know about the technical things much or has a fear of it. There are two different ways that the WPS methods use for any device connected with the network. The first one is the routers that have a push button at the back which you can press to connect a device by sending out a signal to connect it. Here you do not need any password or code to access the network.
And secondly, you can use an eight-digit code to connect any device with the network to access the internet from the device. It is a very easy process to connect any device with your network. But, this is not very safe as hackers can break your network security pretty much in a matter of time especially cracking the codes and gaining access to your router network. Although you can use the push button method sometimes to connect a device, the second one is not a method to practice at all. It is best for you to avoid any method and disable the WPS feature.
Turn off remote administration access
We can access your router with devices that are connected to your home and the necessary things we would like to do. The remote administration feature provides you to access the router settings through the internet from other locations as well. As you can access your router with the help of remote access then any hacker will be able to do the same without much inconvenience.
So, the most suitable option you could pick is to disable the remote administration (if you do not require it) of your router. Just go to the Wi-Fi settings and the administration to turn it off if it is accessible at the moment. Using a feature like this that can bring so many problems instead of making your network security strong is not a great option to select.
Firmware of the router should be updated
We update our operating system, any software or application, antivirus, etc with the latest version of the updates. We do this or companies provide such updates to fix any issue or glitch and strengthen the security or any loophole that can compromise the safety of the user. Your router also should be updated with the latest version of the update to deliver the topmost security and performance. The routers that have an automatic update option can update it with the latest updates. But, for the other ones you should check for any updates to update it manually.
Just check for the updates after a certain period of time. If there is one, then update it. You can look for the updates on the router company website or in the router console if the option is there to notify you. It is very important to update the firmware of your router to make it more secure from hackers. They always look for any loophole in the security of a router to exploit it. In case there is any virus outbreak, then the router companies will most likely provide a security update to dodge the virus. In that case, you must check for any update that can save you from such outbreaks or attacks.
The firewall of the router – Turn it on
The firewall of your router also plays an important role to protect you from the various threats which you can face through the internet. And no, we are not talking about the firewall of your PC or laptop. Your router should have its own built-in firewall system as most of the routers have which can provide you the security to secure your network and other devices. It will also prevent any hacking or if someone tries to drill through your network security.
The firewall has an option of disabling as well. So, go to your settings to find a firewall and enable it if it is disabled in your router. And if you are unable to find the firewall in your Wi-Fi then try to find out whether it is there or not and how you can access it. Check on the company website or any online forum to get knowledge about it.
Filter MAC address from the router
MAC address is basically a Media Access Control. Every device around the world has a unique MAC address and no other device can have the same MAC address as another one. In the router settings, you can find the option to filter MAC addresses to find out which device has accessed your router. With this unique identifier, you can elevate the security of your Wi-Fi network by limiting the devices to connect with your network. You can also put the MAC addresses of the devices you would like to give permission to access the router.
So, in this way, we can avoid other devices and can filter out unwanted devices to connect with your network in the future. This can limit the number of devices to connect with it. Only the approved ones can access and stay within the network. That is a very reliable feature to keep your router clean from many devices and restrict any of the devices to which you do not want to give access to use the internet or harm you in any way. It will surely boost the security of the router network and prevent intruders from hacking it.
Just turn off the router if you are not using it for a long time
Now that is not by any means technical things but it is one of the obvious things you should do and make a habit of turning off the router when no one needed it. We turn off any other electrical or electronic devices like TV, AC, PC, lights, etc when we do not use them. So why keeping a router on if you are going out for a long trip.
It will save electricity and a turned-off router is basically the safest thing for potential hackers. They would not be able to hack your network if the router is turned off. Even if you have any wanted user that uses your internet through the router will not be able to access it when you are not using it or not at home. Turning off the Wi-Fi, when one is out of home or on a trip is the best decision for the safety of your network, devices, and also for your home.
Another network for different IoT devices
Modern technology is getting smarter and providing us many IoT (Internet of Things) devices day by day. We already use many devices like smartphones, smart TV, PC, etc in our homes and the number of IoT devices will increase in the near future for sure. So, why we should put all such devices with the same network if we can create a new router network to connect some of the devices for more security. The majority of IoT devices do not offer good security. And if any of them is hacked by any hacker then they can invade all of our devices including our Wi-Fi network for using the same network.
If you are a person that likes to secure your devices and network as much as you can then you can set up a second network for using the devices that you feel are not providing much security like old devices. In this way, you can secure the devices that are more important and high secured with one network. And use another network to use other devices to separate them from the important devices. It will provide more security to your network and the devices you value more.
Guest network for the visitors
You do not have to share your main network password with other visitors or unwanted people to connect their devices with it. Instead, just create a guest network for those people who might use unprotected or infected devices which are unknown to you. Most of the routers offer this feature to set up a guest network for the visitors.
Just create a different password and username or SSID for the guest network and keep your main network password secret to you and the people you trust. If any of the guests use a device that is already infected then it will not be able to infect your own devices from the network you connect them to use the internet. It is a better way to prevent hacking and cybercrime. It will decrease the chances of such threats.
Some other tips to secure your Wi-Fi network security
- You can change the default IP address of your router to secure the network and hackers would not be able to track you or it will not be easy to hack the system.
- Smart devices use the UPnP method (Universal Plug n Play) to set up it. Once the process is done, you can turn off the Plug n Play option as it could invite hackers a way to get into your security.
- Know about the methods and security settings that are important to know in order to protect your Wi-Fi network and educate yourself by exploring it.
Cybercrime is one of the main concerns these days. So learn the cyber security methods and tricks to protect your data and network from intruders. Use all the methods you might need to secure your network and maintain a safe zone for work without any worry.