1. Change your router password
Each router comes with a preset password that allows you to access it. Change the password when the router is installed, and then change it again a few months later. Opt for a password that is at least 8 characters long (the longer the better). Use a combination of numbers, upper and lower case, and symbols.
2. Disable remote administration
Remote management allows you to access the router remotely over the internet and make changes to the router. Most users never use this feature and unless you use it, it should be disabled.
3. Change your SSID
The SSID, an acronym for Service Set Identifier, is the name of the wireless network. All routers have a default SSID. You must know the SSID to connect to the wireless network. If there are many wireless networks in range and you have the same SSID, it can be difficult to know which one is yours.
Changing the SSID also adds a bit of security. If a hacker knows the brand of the router based on the default SSID name, it is easier to determine which vulnerabilities that particular brand of router has. A hacker can use that information to break into your network. When you change the default SSID, go for an SSID that is random. Do not use your name, address or any type of personal information when creating the SSID. Consider changing the SSID a few times a year.
4. Disable SSID broadcast
The router’s SSID is broadcasting anywhere within range of your wireless network. That means your neighbors and anyone near your router can see your wireless network. You will want to disable SSID broadcasting after you have set up and configured and successfully connected your computers and other devices to the router for the first time. After you turn off SSID broadcast, people searching their list of available wireless networks will no longer see your network on it. Disabling the SSID is not a strong security measure per se, but combined with other security actions, it adds a layer of security.
5. Use a MAC filter
MAC filters allow you to specify which devices are allowed to connect and which are not allowed to connect to your network. Each network has a specific media access control address, and no two hardware devices use the same address. A MAC address consists of a pair of six numbers separated by a comma. Wireless routers have a configuration called MAC filtering. Using this, you can log into the router and enter the MAC addresses on the devices that you would like to connect to your wireless network. All other devices will be closed. You can also block specific MAC addresses from connecting to your router. Some hackers have spoofed MAC addresses, so don’t just rely on this.
6. Use encryption
Encrypts encrypt the data transmitted between your computer and another device and your wireless router. Use the strongest type of encryption that your router supports. Pick a strong and unique clef. This key will be used by anyone who is connecting to your wireless network. As with many other keys or passwords, choose one that is at least eight characters long and has a combination of numbers, upper and lower case, and symbols. Change the password a few times a year.
7. Disable Wireless Protected Setup
If your router offers Wireless Protect Setup (WPS) it is better to disable that feature. Hackers have found a way to take advantage of the PIN feature to get your password. The Wi-FI protection settings allow you to connect devices to the router using a PIN or Push Button Connect. When using the PIN option, enter the PIN number on your device to connect. With Push Button Connect, you are allowed to push a button on the router or click a button while connecting to the router, and, for a limited period of time, a device within range can connect. This allows devices to connect without someone knowing the password.
8. Pay attention to the device list
Most routers have a device with this feature. You can view the list so you know which devices are currently connected to your router. You should regularly view the list and make sure that only devices that you use are connected.
9. Be careful with guest access
Most routers have a guest access option. This feature allows guests to connect to your router. If you don’t use guest access, turn it off. If you have guests who need wireless guest access, use this feature. This allows them access to Wi-Fi without allowing them access to your network: things like shared files and folders, shared printers, and other networks of sensitive information. Some routers also allow you to restrict how much bandwidth a guest is allowed to use. Choose a strong password for guest access and change it often.
10. Consider unplugging your router at night or when you’re out and about.
A router cannot be compromised if it goes offline. Consider unplugging your router when you are not at home, going on vacation, or when you stop working with it. This will prevent any malicious activity. You could also avoid a voltage problem and save money on your appliance bill.
11. Keep your router software up to date
The software that has been installed on your router is called firmware. Manufacturers will send firmware updates to improve performance and to resolve conflicts and security problems. Check out the updates a few times a year. You can check for firmware updates by logging into the router. Most have a tab that allows you to check for updates to that page. You can also go directly to the manufacturer’s website and download the updates.
If all of this overwhelms you, don’t let it intimidate you. It takes some time, but it is very simple to follow these steps. You can change the settings of any router through the router software or by using a web browser on your computer. Taking the time to properly configure and keep your home network safe is necessary. The least effort is worth the peace it brings.