Hackers, malware, and other viruses litter the internet superhighway; this why it is imperative to know how you can defend your home internet network from such attacks. For the layman, this topic can be quite daunting to tackle with talks about security protocols and other similar terms. Don’t fret as we have broken this subject down to its basics.
In this article, we will be tackling some of the essential tips when it comes to improving your home network security. By applying these methods, you can further boost your network defense system and considerably reduce the risk of hackers and malware attacks.
Why You Should Implement Solid Security for Your Home Wireless Network
Since we have moved from traditional wired internet networks to wireless, we have also left some of the advantages of being physically tethered to a router. A wireless network means that your home router signal is spread across a certain radius.
This also means that anyone with a Wi-Fi device can see your system. Fortunately, that doesn’t automatically mean that they can connect to it, given that you have basic security protocols (WPA and WPA2) in place.
This does not mean that more unscrupulous and determined individuals will never be able to access your network, though. Unwanted devices gaining access to your wireless network is called “piggybacking.”
Such activities are frowned upon and should be avoided at all costs. Why? Well, if someone else is piggybacking on your network, it can lead to several problems:
If your ISP bills you by the data you consume every month, an unknown device that illegally connects to your network will considerably increase your bills.
Having several devices piggybacking on your network will cause a noticeable drop in your internet access speed.
You are more susceptible to hackers gaining access to essential files in your home network.
Pretty scary stuff, right? But you shouldn’t let this make you drop your wireless router. Several methods will help you improve your overall network security.
You don’t even need to be a programmer to implement these added network defense procedures.
6 Ways to Improve your Home Wireless Network Security
Now, below are six ways that you can do to help boost your wireless home network security. I highly recommend that you apply the following methods.
Change your SSID Name
The SSID is your network’s name. It typically uses the brand and unit model of the router or is known as “default” in some cases. Changing your SSID won’t improve your network’s security, per se. However, it can allow other users to distinguish your system from other signals in the vicinity effortlessly.
You can change the SSID of your network by going to your router’s setting page via your desktop browser. Remember never to use a username based on your personal information.
Use a Strong Password
What constitutes a secure password? Well, a combination of letters, numbers, symbols, uppercase, and lowercase letters for starters. This technique is always a tried and true method. You should also create a password that is at least 12 to 20 characters long.
Of course, a password this long can be quite tricky to remember. Mainly since you will most likely input it only once when connecting to your wireless home network. With that, remember to save your router password on a notepad file or write it in actual notepad.
A complicated password is not a foolproof technique of securing your home network, but it will deter most uninvited guests. As for visitors in your home who requests to connect to the internet, I suggest you input the password yourself and don’t check the “automatically connect” box when doing so.
Change Your Password Regularly
Changing the password of your Wi-Fi network is a given, but you can choose the frequency of how often you change it. However, you should make it mandatory to change the password once a month. Since you will only be inputting the password once, improving your Wi-Fi password is less of a nuisance.
Also, make sure you update your notes whenever you change your Wi-Fi password. The last thing you’d want is to completely forget your new password with no updated reference to check.
Change the Router’s Admin Credential
The router’s administrator account detail is usually printed on the unit. The admin account lets the user gain full control of the network. You can see why this particular detail is crucial for your home network security. Since the default username and password of the admin account is visible for all who know where to look, updating the admin credential asap is mandatory.
Also, having sole access to your network’s administrator account allows you full control of your network’s configuration. This will also allow you to improve upon your system’s security as you see fit. In the instance where you can’t find the login credentials on the unit, you can try these typical default passwords:
Once you managed to sign in to your account, make sure to update and change the default password as soon as possible.
Activate Network Encryption
To make sure that not just anyone can easily access and connect to your network, it is crucial to enable network encryption. The first option available is placing a WEP encryption. While this encryption method is compatible with almost all devices, it offers the least level of protection.
I suggest always going for the WPA and WPA2 encryption as it offers better security. However, this encryption protocol is only compatible with devices that were manufactured from 2016 and onwards. Older hardware won’t be able to utilize routers that have WPA and WPA2 encryption security in place.
Activate MAC Address Filtering
To enable MAC address filtering, you will need to get all the devices that you want to grant access to your network. Find each device’s MAC address and add them to the MAC filter in the admin router settings.
To check the MAC address, open the Command Prompt and input “ipconfig/all,” this will show your MAC address. For smartphones and other devices, you can find their MAC address under the network settings.
By having a MAC address filter, you can easily block unknown devices from seeing and accessing your network without your permission. This is a simple yet highly effective security protocol that you can apply to your home network.
Internet security is vital in today’s world. Placing every single possible online defense is necessary. With the methods we listed above, you can further improve upon your home network security with the tools that are already in your arsenal.