Wireless routers are ubiquitous in modern households, with many home Wi-Fi connections acting as a connectivity hub for everything from TVs to smartphones.
This increasing reliance on wireless connectivity places even more importance on the security of home Wi-Fi connections.
If your Wi-Fi router is compromised, all the data sent through it could potentially be intercepted and exploited by an attacker.
Additionally, if your home features smart locks, lights, and other IoT devices, attackers could pose a threat to physical security.
We have listed five easy steps you should take to secure your home Wi-Fi network to prevent it being compromised.
Create a secure WPA2 Key
Most routers come with support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) security protocols, which uses the router’s SSID and password to create a private encryption key.
It is therefore important to select a secure Wi-Fi password in addition to changing the default SSID for all your connections.
A longer Wi-Fi password is better than a shorter one, as increasing the number of characters makes it exponentially more difficult to crack.
If an attacker has physical access to your router, however, your network can be compromised – regardless of how strong your Wi-FI password is.
Change your default router login details
If an attacker manages to bypass your Wi-Fi security key or remotely infiltrate your network and access your router, there is still a layer of protection which prevents them from changing router settings.
Logging into the router interface requires a username and password, which are set to the same default values for most router models.
Changing the username and password is a crucial step in securing your network, and is often overlooked by everyday users.
If these are left as the default values, attackers simply need to look up the defaults online and they can access your router settings.
Hackers may also be able to access your home network through the Internet if your security is not set up correctly.
Ensure that your router’s firewall is enabled and blocking unapproved port access requests or pings, and ensure that Network Address Translation (NAT) is enabled to protect your network.
It is more difficult for attackers to gain access to your network remotely if your UPNP and port forwarding options are disabled.
However, disabling UPNP can interfere with certain online games and data transfer protocols, and may not be the best choice for gamers.
Create a guest SSID
To secure the shared data and devices on your Wi-Fi network, you should create a separate guest SSID which runs a different local network.
Not all routers support this functionality, but if yours does, it can be a great way to connect guests without worrying about them accessing your primary Wi-Fi connection.
Additionally, certain routers offer the ability to limit maximum bandwidth on the guest SSID.
This means you can prevent your data cap being used or your live stream freezing up due to a guest’s usage.
Another important method of securing your home Wi-Fi network is to regularly check for firmware updates.
Many routers do not automatically update their firmware and require user input to check for and run software updates.
While these updates can be few and far between, they can house important security fixes and should be installed as soon as possible.
Be sure to check your router interface regularly to determine whether a new firmware update has been released.