Improve Your WiFi Security

Most routers from an ISP have a reasonable amount of protection enabled by default, however, as with most things of a technical nature, it’s possible to improve this further. Here are our top ten tips on how to improve your WiFi security.

Change Router Password – The default password from the ISP to the administrative layer of the router can be quite good, depending on the ISP. Some, though, are terrible and use the likes of admin/admin as the username and password. If yours isn’t up to scratch, create your own strong password using numbers, letters and special characters.

Limit Access – Although it may be tempting, and it’s difficult, you should consider saying ‘no’ when someone asks you for your password. Passing friends of the kids, the neighbour who needs to check something, anyone in who’s doing work on the house… the list goes on. Don’t give out your password, and it’ll remain secure.

Keep Changing Passwords – If you want to remain secure, then change your router’s access password often. Perhaps keep a list of password reminders, that mean nothing to anyone else, to hand so you can easily pick a strong one to change it to.

Change SSID – The Service Set Identifier (SSID) is your router’s wireless network name, it’s broadcast with the router’s signal so you can find it an connect devices to it. But if you can see it, so can others. Consider opting for the Hide SSID option in your router’s configuration (if it’s available), otherwise you can use a single underscore with spaces to lessen its presence (_ ).

Encryption – WEP, WPA and WPA2 are all encryption types for wireless networks. WEP is the weakest, so ensure that your router is trafficking data on its network with the strongest possible encryption, WPA2. Don’t be tempted to go for less to support older hardware.

Turn It Off – If you’re not at home, or you’re away for a while (on holidays), then turn off your router. If it’s not needed, such as remote access to the heating controls or security cameras, turning it off is the best form of security; since no one can hack something that isn’t powered on.

Use MAC Address Filtering – Every network interface has a unique identifier known as a MAC (Media Access Code) address, regardless of whether it’s a computer, tablet, or games console. If your router supports MAC filtering, you can obtain the MAC addresses for each device and enter them into the router. Only those devices will be able to connect.

Static IP Addresses – By default your router will allocate IP addresses to any connecting device out of an available pool. If you remove this feature, and use your own addresses, then anyone gaining access won’t have an IP address to see the rest of your network.

Router Position – Router position isn’t just for the best possible signal. Limiting the router to the middle of the house will benefit not just your wireless network broadcast, but it’ll also limit access to the signal from beyond the walls of your home.

Monitor Your Firewall – It’s a good idea to keep tabs on what’s being added to your router’s and computer’s firewalls. It’s not easy, but not impossible for malicious content to secretly add a route through a firewall for hackers to gain entry to a network.

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David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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