We all love our precious Wi-Fi, as it makes our lives so much easier. It does have its drawbacks, however; it leaves us open to security risks and even makes it easier for people to steal the bandwidth we've paid for. Whether it is neighbors downloading movies over our Wi-Fi or serious security threats like the recent KRACK scare, there are plenty of reasons to beef up security on your Wi-Fi network.
We're going to give you ten great tips for increasing security on your Wi-Fi network. Here are the first five tips; we'll bring you next five tomorrow.
How to make your Wi-fi network more secure
1. Check to make sure nobody is stealing your Wi-Fi
The first step to securing your Wi-Fi network is making sure that nobody is already stealing your Wi-Fi. There are a number of ways to do this, including turning off all the Wi-Fi enabled devices in your home and checking the traffic light on your router; checking the list of apparatuses associated with your router; or viewing the list of devices connected to the router and monitoring through software. To find out how to do each of these in greater detail, read How do I know if somebody is stealing my Wi-Fi connection?
2. Change the default SSID name
The SSID is the name of your Wi-Fi network. The default SSID of your Wi-Fi network is the brand of the router you're using for your Wi-Fi. Even if it doesn't explicitly include the brand like LINKSYS, for example, the brand will be identifiable from the default SSID. This is a problem because it tells anybody who is the vicinity of your Wi-Fi network the brand of router that you're using, which creates a security risk. It is like giving a huge password hint to anybody who is trying to crack open your Wi-Fi network. When you're changing the SSID, make sure that you don't include any identifiable information for the same reason.
3. Enable the router firewall
A firewall monitors and controls all incoming and outgoing traffic on a networkbased on the security procedures of that network. You'll likely have a firewall enabled as part of your antivirus software suite (if you haven't, get one now), but most routers also have firewalls. If your router has a firewall, you should activate it to give your Wi-Fi network an extra layer of security.
4. Configure and update your router
Though your mileage may vary based on your individual router, most routers will allow you to check the devices that are connected to your device and look for any type of suspicious behavior. You should also change the default username and password that is used to access the router settings (this is different to the password needed to access the Wi-Fi). Finally, update the router's firmware to ensure that it has all of the latest security patches. This is especially important in the wake of the WPA2 KRACK vulnerability.
5. Disable wireless administration
Another handy thing you can do with your router's configuration, to significantly increase security, is to disable remote administration. If you do this, it means that none of your router's settings can be changed using a wireless connection. The settings can still be changed, but only on a PC that has a wired connection to the router.
So there you have five top tips for securing your Wi-Fi network. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and let us know if there are any you think we should add to tomorrow's list. Make sure you check in later for more great ways to increase security on your Wi-Fi network.
Continuing on from yesterday's **five tips for** **securing your Wi-Fi network** here is part 2 with five more great ways to keep your Wi-Fi network safe. Today's five mix up some common sense solutions with a few more advanced ways of stopping people from stealing your Wi-Fi or learning about how you're using the internet.
How to boost your Wi-Fi security
6. Change your password regularly
We all do it. We all just hand out the password to our Wi-Fi network whenever we have guests over, as if it is nothing. The problem, however, is that this makes it so much harder to track who has access to our Wi-Fi network and who doesn't. An easy way to take care of this problem is to reset your Wi-Fi password regularly. You'll have to reconnect all of your wireless devices every time you reset your password but it'll be a small price to pay for maintaining control over who has access to your Wi-Fi network.
7. Use a VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are everywhere now, even if they have been banned in Russia. A VPN acts as a secure conduit that encrypts all of your web behavior. They stop even your ISP being able to monitor what you're doing on the internet and can even mask your location so that, if you wanted to, you could access geo-restricted content. VPNs make it incredibly difficult for people to track your web use and having a reputable VPN sat at the heart of all proposed defensesagainst the recently discovered KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi vulnerability.
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8. Use a router that allows you to create a guest network
If your router allows you to create a guest network, then you're in luck. A guest network allows you to separate your home network from the Wi-Fi network that you allow visitors to to access. This means that you don't have to keep changing your Wi-Fi network password every time you have visitors. If your router doesn't have this option then you could use the router your Internet Service Provider gave you for a guest network and your own router for your private network.
Image via: Edimax
9. Enable wireless MAC filter
A wireless MAC filter will only allow a device to connect to your Wi-Fi, if the MACaddress of the device has been added to the filter list. This can make the process of connecting devices to your Wi-Fi network a little bit more annoying but it significantly ramps up the security on your network. It works really well if you have a dedicated guest network as it adds the extra level of security without having to faff around with MAC addresses every time somebody comes over.
10. Turn off Wi-Fi whenever you can
OK this one might sound annoying but think about the devices you're using most regularly to access the internet. If you can connect your TV and Computer using wired connection then you've already cut down a huge amount of wireless traffic in your household. It is then a case of only using Wi-Fi on your mobile devices intermittently. If you can do this most of the time there won't even be a Wi-Fi network at risk of security breach to worry about. This won't be the most popular option but it is definitely worth a thought.
Did we get them all? We're confident that if you follow all of the tips we've laid out your Wi-Fi network will be locked up tight. If you've any other Wi-Fi security tipswe'd love to hear about them in the comments. Stay safe everybody.
Via: LifeWire (2), Gizmodo, ComputerHope and Softonic