Your router helps distribute the Internet throughout your network, but it also runs the risk of bringing more than just the Internet to your devices. Hackers have become intelligent enough to spread malware, ransomware, and other cybersecurity threats to put your entire network at risk.
Just yesterday it was reported that hackers have been using vulnerable and exposed routers to redirect users to malicious COVID-19 related app aiming at your personal data. Now, the question is how can one protect their routers against such threats? While this might seem like an insurmountable task, there are things that you can do to keep your router and WiFi safe from hackers.
1: Adjust your router’s settings
The first step you should take is to check your router’s security settings. Many users will leave the default settings in place, not realizing that they can be adjusted. Their level of adjustment depends on the router itself, but all routers have some defense.
Log into your router’s settings. The login information should be supplied with the router, which usually involves an IP address and password. There, you should change the login information to make the password unique and difficult to guess, so hackers cannot simply log into your network.
2: Change WiFi’s name
The next thing that you should do is change the name of your WiFi. The service set identifier (SSID) is the default name of your network. Leaving it as is will make it easier for outsiders to simply scan for your network’s name in order to find it. If you change the name, it will not be so easy to find your network, to begin with.
3: Disable network name broadcasting
This should be in your router’s settings. It is a feature that is used by networks that share their WiFi, like coffee shops, libraries, or hotels. You do not need this on for your private home network. Turning it off will remove your network from an open list of networks.
4: Turn on your network encryption
Many routers come with a built-in encryption setting that is typically turned off when you pull it out of the box. See if you can turn it on when you initially set up your router. The encryption available should be WPA2.
5: See if your router has a guest network
We don’t mean to imply that friends might not be safe with your password, but if you can give them access to a guest network through your router, rather than your actual network, you will increase the overall security of your network.
You really shouldn’t freely give out your network password anyway, so if you have the option to allow visitors to make use of your internet while keeping your network safe, it is the way to go.
6: Check your router’s firewall
All of the tri-band routers or dual-band routers will come with some type of firewall already built-in. That does not mean that the firewall is automatically turned on, however. A software firewall is there to protect your network from intrusions. If your router does not have a firewall, you should either consider getting a new router or buying a separate firewall device to keep your network as safe as possible.
7: Make use of VPNs
A VPN, or virtual private network, is a way to encrypt your communication coming from your network. They work by jumbling up the communications coming in and out of your network so that no one can intercept it and make any sense of it. Once the information arrives at your computer, your VPN will decrypt it.
8: Keep your software and firmware is current
Manufacturers will update the software and firmware for their devices from time to time, updating any information about new malware or viruses. When you update your system, it will now be able to look for new types of threats and keep them out. When there are security updates available, never delay in downloading them.
9: Turn it off
If you are going to be offline for any amount of time, you might as well turn the router off, keeping everyone out of your network. This might not work well if you have a lot of people in your home.
10: Buy a new router
Finally, how old is your router? Older routers will not be setup with all of the security features that the new routers come with. And, there are more options out there today than in previous years. Updating your router will not only make your network safer, but it might also increase the speeds you are able to access.
If you are smart with your network’s privacy and keep everything current, you should be able to keep your router safe.