It’s common for homeowners to buy a wireless router, set it up and then forget that it’s there. As long as it provides them with access to the internet, they don’t think much about it. However, putting a little time and security into a Wi-Fi network may be more beneficial than some people think.
People send a lot of personal data over their Wi-Fi networks. If you don’t secure yours, it’s easy for this information to fall into the wrong hands. Securing a network doesn’t just protect you from neighbors who want to feed of the network. It protects you from hackers who want to steal your information. Here are a few ways that you can secure your Wi-Fi network.
Change the Password and Username of Your Router Login
Most people who have set up a router know that they can access its control panel from an internet browser by typing in its address. Once there, they are asked for a username and password to log into the router. In general, routers use a generic username and password, typically “admin” and “password” respectively.
It’s important to change this as soon as you set up your router. Failure to do this makes it easy for others to gain access and mess with the settings. You need to remember the new username and password too. Writing it down is a good option as long as you store that piece of paper in a safe place.
Change the Network Name
When setting up a router, the device typically asks you to input a network name or service set identifier (SSID). This is the name that the router broadcasts to Wi-Fi-enabled devices. While most people think it’s fine to use the default name, this name may give away more information than you want.
For example, the default network names for many Netgear routers have the word “Netgear” in them by default. Hackers can use this information to correctly identify the type of router that the networks are using. One good idea is to change the name of your network to a different router type. For example, if you have a Netgear router, you could use Linksys in your network name to throw people off. If you don’t like that idea, changing the name to anything besides its default name is generally a good idea.
Turn On Encryption
Unless your router is older than 10 years, it has the ability to encrypt the data that you send over your network. While it seems like a no-brainer to turn this on, some routers come with this option turned off by default.
To turn it on, you must first navigate to the settings page of your router. This is the same area covered above that requires a username and password to log in. From there, navigate to the security options, and look for encryption. Turn on WPA2, which is sometimes called WPA2-PSK. When asked for the encryption type, choose AES. If possible, avoid using TKIP.
These are just a few tips that you can use to make your Wi-Fi network more secure. While it’s impossible to make a network 100-percent secure, these tips will help to make your router more secure than most.