WiFi is one of your network’s most vulnerable points. If not configured properly, any stranger can hack into your system. Monitor your every activity from your PC or mobile devices. They can even use your identity for their benefit.
If you use smart security devices, hackers can take control of the home security features. They can even lock you in or out of your own home. So, it becomes very crucial to protect your network from prying attackers.
Buying expensive devices will not add much to security if you do not set them up properly. Read further on how you can secure your wifi network from potential hackers.
How to Secure Wifi From Hackers
Here are a few helpful methods that describe how to increase the strength of your wifi security.
Use Encryption on Wireless Network
Different standards provide different levels of encryption. The best possible encryption on wireless security is WPA3 and WPA2. Never use WEP as it is crackable by hackers.
Change Default Passwords on the Router Login Page
If you are using default login credentials to log into your router, it is time to change them as soon as possible. Anyone who knows the router model can look up the default passwords online. Thus they can get in and change any security settings on the router.
Having a strong password on your wifi router is only one way of securing your home network. If someone gains access to your router, they can change or disable the password.
Or, they can even block your own devices from connecting to wifi. To protect against these threats, it is necessary to secure the router with a password.
- Go to your router login page on the web browser. The location is generally 192.168.1.1, 192.168.0.1. Or, check your router label for the login page address.
- Check your router label for username and password. If it does not have one, note down the router brand and model.
- Do a google search of your router Model (usually at the bottom of the router device on a sticker) name like ‘TP-LINK WR840 default username and password’. Refer to different sources to get a username/password.
- A general combination could be admin/admin, admin/password, user/password.
- Once you get in, head over to the password section and change the default credentials.
Use the Latest Firmware
The firmware provides security patches and the latest features. If your manufacturer has identified security issues, they fix them up. They then send them into their products via firmware updates.
Thus, if they identify a risk, you need to apply the firmware update as soon as possible. There are two ways to update the firmware.
- Setup auto firmware update.
- Download manually from the manufacturer’s website by looking up the model name.
Always prefer Auto-update over manual update. If you go the manual route, double-check that you have downloaded the correct file. Otherwise, you can brick your router and make it useless.
Turn Off Remote Management and UPnP
Remote management can expose your home wifi setup to the internet. Routers ship with this feature to enable you to change your settings from outside the home. But hackers can take advantage of this feature with a compromised device.
Thus they can access your router from anywhere using this feature. They can even change your network settings.
UPnP is another feature that enables devices in the home network to scan and discover each other. If a hacker gets into your network, they are going to scan and attack all known devices. Disabling UPnP can help prevent such incidents.
Turn Off WPS Pin
WPS pin is a feature that’s supposed to make connecting to wifi easier. Using WPS you can press the WPS button on the router and connect to wifi without having to enter a password.
This is a big risk to your network as anyone can connect to your wifi without knowing your password. It is better to turn off this feature altogether.
Setup Guest Network for Separate Logins
If your router supports this feature, create a separate guest network for visitors. This way you would have two isolated wifi networks in your home.
The family members and smart devices can use the first wifi point. And you can have the visitors and guests connect to the second wifi point. This way you don’t have to give out the main wifi password to everyone.
Physically Secure Your Device
Don’t leave your wifi router in an accessible place. If someone gets in your house without permission, they can plug in an ethernet cable to your router. Thus they gain access to your router and home network.
- Use a wall mount to secure it to a high position on a wall away from prying hands.
- Use rackmount to secure it to a server rack. You can lock up your server racks to prevent physical access.
Enable Firewall Protection
Firewalls are very important to protect your internal network from outside attackers. You can even choose to set up a dedicated firewall device for your home wifi.
Most routers have built-in firewall protection too. Make sure you enable the firewall in your router.
Use Stronger Wireless Passwords
Using stronger and harder to predict passwords on your wifi network can go a long way in securing wifi. Free programs on the internet can crack easier passwords without any issues.
But, they take a long time to crack complicated passwords. By a long time, I mean years or centuries. To check the strength of the password, use an online tool like my1login.
Use VPN(Virtual Private Network) for Added Security
Virtual Private Network creates a private network within the public internet connection. VPNs give you the ultimate online anonymity and protect your internet traffic. If you feel your wifi is not secure enough, you should get a VPN subscription from a trusted provider.
With your VPN account, you can use your wifi without worrying about security.
Monitor Network Traffic and Block Suspicious Devices
Your wifi router may have an assistant app that you can download on your phone. With this app, you can track connected devices. If you see an unrecognized device, someone is connected to your home wifi.
Using the phone app, you can block these suspicious devices with one tap. If your router does not have this app, you can always do the same from the router login portal.
Use MAC Authentication Feature
MAC filtering is a very important tool in network security. MAC is a unique ID assigned to your network device. A network device could be your PC, mobile phone, smart device, or router itself. Using MAC authentication, you can protect your wifi in one of two ways.
- Block traffic from the specified MAC address and allow traffic from all others.
- Allow traffic from the specified MAC address and block traffic from all others.
You can look up device MAC addresses in various ways. Some examples are below.
- Right-click on Start Menu and open Powershell.
ipconfig /alland press Enter. Note down the physical address value for each adapter.
- Open Terminal.
ifconfigand press Enter. Note down the ether value for each adapter.
- Go to Settings>About Phone>Status.
- Look for a Wi-Fi MAC address.
- Go to Settings> General>About.
- Look for Wi-FI Address.
Router and other home devices
- Look for a label on the device that says MAC address.
- Or, login to your router page and check the Info page.
Disconnect Router When Not in Use
When you leave your house, it is usually best to keep the router turned off whenever away. Idle devices are very attractive targets for hackers.
They can spend several days or even weeks trying to get in your running home WIFI. So, make sure you turn off your router before leaving.
Use Trusted Brands and Models
Good brands hire cybersecurity professionals to audit and certify their products. If you use shady networking equipment, it is likely your home wifi isn’t very secure. These devices do not meet security standards and attackers can take control of them.
They can also expose your network traffic back to the manufacturer. This is how they leak your information online. So, always invest in good quality brands when buying home routers. They even come with good warranty periods and frequent security updates.
Prefer Wired Over Wireless
Wired networks aren’t as vulnerable as wireless. Hackers can set up camp in your home or office premises and launch attacks on a wireless network. For wired, they need to be present near the device itself.
Also, combine wired connections with mac authentication. This way it becomes difficult for hackers to get into your network. Even if they plug ethernet in your router, they will never gain access to the home network. This is because the MAC filter will block them up right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Secure Wifi From Neighbors ?
To secure wifi from neighbors, you can use the following methods.
- Always use a strong wifi password.
- Change default wifi name to something other than router brand and model.
- Use MAC authentication for your devices.
- Watch connected devices list and block any unknown ones.
- Turn off broadcasting wifi names.
How to Setup Secure Network ?
Here are a few different ways on how you can secure networks on different OS and devices.
- Use a VPN service when connecting to the network.
- Turn off the following features: File Sharing, Remote Management, Remote Login.
- Go to Settings>Security & Privacy > Firewall. Enable the firewall on your Mac.
- Remove and forget old wifi networks.
- Use a VPN service when connecting to the network.
- Connect to password-enabled wifi points only.
- For non-home networks, change network profiles to the public from private. Public profile restricts certain network features and provides extra security to Windows.
- Turn off wifi when not in use
- Forget public networks after using them
- Avoid connecting to open public networks
- Disable auto-reconnect on untrusted networks
- Use VPN service whenever possible
- Use wired devices whenever possible
- Buy smart devices from trusted brands only
- Setup separate access points for smart home products and internet users.
- Check and disable settings you don’t need, e.g. Bluetooth, remote access, etc.
- Keep smart devices up-to-date with firmware upgrades and software updates.
- If you need to use smart device vendor accounts, turn two-factor authentication on.
- Use power backup for critical devices in case of outages. Door locks and motion detectors are more important than bulbs and switches.
- Make sure to use power backups on all cameras. Security cameras are only good if they are running all the time with no power interrupts.
- Change default passwords on your camera when setting them up.
- Buy wired cameras over wireless whenever possible.
- Turn off remote online monitoring on your camera and NVR system.
- Update firmware and viewer software at regular intervals for any known security fixes.
If you feel someone can compromise your security, set up an emergency shutdown button. This could be a master power plug or a breaker that you can pull in the event of emergencies.
How to Secure Wifi Password ?
Weak wifi passwords are one of the major reasons your wifi becomes insecure. Wifi password cracking is so common that a smartphone can crack your wifi in minutes. Luckily, you can use online tools to check the strength of your password.
The stronger the password is, the more difficult it gets to crack the wifi password. Never set up an open passwordless network in your home wifi.
How to Secure Wifi While Traveling ?
If you need to travel a lot, it is harder to browse the internet securely. You can always trust your home network for maintaining your security. But one cannot say the same when out on the road. Here are a few helpful tips on how to use secure internet when traveling.
- Never connect to untrusted networks. By untrusted, I mean open public networks.
- Use phone data whenever possible. Get a roaming pack by consulting your provider if necessary.
- Get a VPN service. VPN connection gives you an added security when you connect to the internet. With VPN, you can use public networks securely and privately.
How to Make Sure My Wifi Is Secure ?
Here are a few helpful tips to make sure your wifi is secure.
- Set up a strong wifi password.
- Change default wifi access point name and default login credentials.
- Make sure the network broadcast setting is off.
- Create separate wifi access points for visitors and guests.
How to Securely use on a Public Network ?
First of all, avoid connecting to a public network as much as possible. You can never be too careful with networks you don’t know much about. If you need to connect, get a VPN service first.
VPN services allow you to browse the internet in a private manner. They also don’t expose your data to potential hackers on public networks.