Many of us own and use a WiFi router that’s a few years old.  As we know, life gets busy and once your WiFi is functional, it becomes very easy to forget about your working router. While it’s perfectly fine using an older router, if you forget to update its firmware and perform overall maintenance on your network, you may be put in a vulnerable place. As WiFi and internet technology is changing and upgrading over time, hackers and cyber criminals are also doing what they can to catch up and exploit the networks that have fallen behind.

When an uninvited user has access to your network, this may not only result in higher internet bills from stolen bandwidth, but you’re also at risk of having personal data compromised.

 

Here are 5 security measures to follow so you can ensure your WiFi network is secure:

 

1. Change your network name (SSID)

“Abraham Linksys”, “Bill Wi-The Science-Fi”, “Not Your WiFi”… Select a name for your WiFi that is unique (and if you want, humorous). It is important to change your network’s default name as it can give away your internet provider.  Even if it does not explicitly say your provider in the network name, many providers tend to use their own sequences of letters and numbers when assigning default names – hackers are able to recognize this. Additionally, make sure not to include any personal information in your network name. If a hacker can identify your service provider, or personal information through your WiFi name, it can bring them a step closer to figuring out your network password.  Usually, you can change your WiFi name on your router’s settings page.

 

2. Assign a strong password to your WiFi network & update it

Each year, SplashData compiles a list of the most common passwords of 2016. This means they’re also the worst passwords of year to select – they are the easiest to guess. Do you see your WiFi password on the list?

The Top 15 Most Common Passwords of 2016 (According to: splashdata.com)

 

How do I know if my password is strong enough?

A strong password will use between 8-12 characters and will contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols (!&%). Try not to repeat these characters, numbers, or symbols in your password. For example, featuring “111” anywhere in your password. Not sure if your password is strong enough? Securely Rank Your Password here.

How can I change my password?

Here’s a useful step-by-step tutorial of how to change your WiFi password:

www.wikihow.com/Change-Your-Wi-Fi-Password

How often does my password need to be changed?

It is good practice to change your WiFi password every couple of months or so.

 

 

3. Select the right wireless security protocol.

Wireless Security Protocols are network security measures that prevent uninvited guests from connecting to your wireless network; they also encrypt your personal data as its being transmitted over the internet.

There are two types of encryption standards that you can select from depending on the needs of your wireless network:

  1. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy): This is the original and very basic wireless encryption standard. (There are several large security flaws and may can easily be hacked if you use newer technology). Only consider using this standard if you use older devices.
  1. WPA/WPA2 (Wireless Protected Access 2): Although WPA and WPA2 were once two different wireless protocol standards, nowadays, they are usually associated together. WPA/WPA2 or just WPA2 is the most secure wireless security protocol. However, its main drawback is that it cannot be securely paired with technology manufactured before 2006.

Your Wireless Security Protocol can be managed or changed by opening your wireless security settings on your computer’s router configuration page.

 

4. Enable a firewall

A Firewall is a layer of security that’s either a software program or a hardware piece. It scans incoming and outgoing traffic in order to block malicious traffic and viruses from reaching your network. You can manage your firewall by assigning a set of rules so when it performs scans, it will either grant or prevent certain traffic access to your network.

How to Enable a Firewall

Using Firewalls in Windows

Using Firewalls in Apple

 

5. See who’s connected to your WiFi

If you are suspicious there is an uninvited user on your WiFi network, you can check to see a list of all active connected devices by using an IP scanner. Here is a secure IP scanner that can be downloaded on your computer:  www.advanced-ip-scanner.com

A screenshot of this tool’s interface:

 

Having troubles with any of these steps? We are here to help! Drop us a line or ask us a question here.