Wireless Fidelity, better known as Wi-Fi, is installed nearly in every house, office, and building you can think of. It is easy to set up and allows access to the Internet to all the wireless devices in the range.
Wi-Fi monitors all the traffic on your network. It provides Internet access to in-range mobile phones, laptops, PCs, tablets, etc., without making a mess with cables that we once had.
The traditional way of using Ethernet cables makes it a bit tricky for unknown devices to connect with your network. So it is an advantage for Ethernet cables when you are drawing comparisons of Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi because unknown devices nearby can gain access to an unsecured Wi-Fi network and compromise the data of all connected devices.
Not only that, the outside user will increase the total data usage. As a result, the monthly internet bill will increase. And more number of users causes traffic congestion, significantly reducing the Internet speed for everyone.
Taking that into consideration, it becomes essential to keep your Wi-Fi network secure from unknown devices. This post will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to secure your Wi-Fi network.
Tips to Secure your Wi-Fi NetworkБ
Before applying these tips, you need to login into your network administration panel. If you do not know how to access your Wi-Fi device, check the user manual that comes with the device. Or you can do it by typing the IP address provided on the back of the user device on any browser. It will ask for a username and password also printed on the back of your device (or in the manual). Put the initials and press Log In option as shown in the picture.
Here is a list of things you need to do that can shore up the defenses of your wireless network:
Change the Networks Default Name (SSID)
When you buy a new Wi-Fi device, it comes with a default network name matching the brand name of the company you got it from. Some of the top brands like Netgear and TP-Link also use their name as router’s SSID.
Changing the name is the first step in securing your network. It gives you extra security as hackers and cybercriminals find it hard to attack your network without knowing the exact type/model of wireless device you have. Every wireless network has its vulnerabilities, so it is better to set have a unique SSID.
You can do it by logging into your device and clicking on the settings options. Select WLAN>WLAN Basic Settings, and this window will pop up. Change the SSID (highlighted) to any personalized name of your choosing.
Change the Networks Default Password
Like the SSID, all Wi-Fi routers come with a default password vulnerable to hackers’ attacks. So the second thing you should do to secure your Wi-Fi network is changing the networks default password.
A typical example of WLAN Basic Settings, as shown in the picture, has an option to change the password (WPA pre-shared key). The password must be strong, as in hard to predict for hackers. For example, a cybersecurity company, LMG Security, recommends all privileged accounts users a minimum password length of 25 characters or greater, and for regular users, a password that has 16 characters or greater.
There is one more thing you could do to enhance the network security. You should change the pre-set Login user name and password of the router. It is often predictable and can be used by anyone to reconfigure your wireless network. People with physical access to the router will also be able to see the credentials and log in to the network.
Enable Network Encryption to Increase your Wi-Fi Security
If you want to protect your Wi-Fi network from unknown devices, you must enable network encryption. There are encryption languages and methods like WEP, WPA (WPA-Personal), and WPA2 that can help you to secure the Wi-Fi network.
When you buy a new router, make sure to turn the encryption on as it is turned off by default. To enable encryption on your Wi-Fi network, select Settings options> WLAN Basic Settings> Click on Security mode (this may vary depending on your router). The most secure option is WPA2 and is best for new devices.
Upgrade your Router’s Firmware
Remember that your Wi-Fi router is perhaps the most integral part of your network, and securing it is very important.
Firmware is essential software that controls most operations of your wireless device. It is responsible for setting up the security standards of the wireless network, checking up the devices which can connect to your network, and has some other functions as well.
So it is essential to install the latest firmware software for your wireless device. Since it is software, it has technical shortcomings which can be sorted out by updating the software to the latest version.
These updates will protect your Wi-Fi network device from potential security breaches. The new models of the routers have an automatic update option in the background, but it is important to keep a manual check as well. And as for the old models, there will be a need to install the firmware software yourself.
Disable Remote Access
Mostly, a connected device has access to the interface of your wireless device. But some devices are specifically designed to allow access to remote systems. You can disable the remote access if you do not need administrator-level access from a remote place. It will protect you from hackers and keep your Wi-Fi network secure.
Most Wi-Fi devices have it active by default. You can turn it off by searching the Remote access option in the Settings of the device.
Turn off the DHCP
It is a better option to turn off the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server in your wireless router to enhance the overall security. Domain controllers do not need the DHCP Server service for their operations, hardening of the server, and for higher security.
Mostly it is not recommended to install the DHCP Server role on domain controllers, but you can install it on the DHCP Server role for member servers.
You can select an IP address for your network by going to the setting options and clicking on the WLAN tab. This window will pop up by clicking on the DHCP option to make the changes.
Make Sure you have a Good Firewall
One last thing that you can do to enhance the security of your Wi-Fi network is the installation of good firewall software. But what is firewall software?
You may have come across firewall software for layering up extra protection for your computers. Wireless devices have a similar built-in firewall as well. It provides extra security to the Wi-Fi network and protects it from cyber-attacks.
Mostly new devices have a firewall turned on but be sure to check it out. You can install firewall software just in case it is missing from your wireless device.