Viruses, malware, hackers, and unauthorized connections are probably the last things that you want to be in your wireless network, especially in today’s age where everything is done online.
We do banking online, pay bills online, transact online, teach online, and communicate online.
How should I secure my wireless network? It’s important to ask yourself this question because it’s plain to see that we use WiFi to connect almost everything from our smartphones, computers, TVs, gaming consoles, and even down to our Bluetooth speakers.
But no worries, there’s no need to panic because today I’m going to give you a walkthrough on how you can heighten your wireless network security in just 8 easy and doable steps that you can do right now!
And before we go ahead and do that, let us first learn the dangers of using an unsecured network.
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Hefty Risks Of Using An Unsecured Wireless Network
Securing your home or office WiFi network is a must because not securing it means you’re leaving your network vulnerable as it has no security encryption of any kind.
If your wireless network is encrypted this then heightens the security of your network from interception as you are the only one who can access the connection and all the devices connected to that specific network.
And below are some of the reasons why securing your wireless network is a serious matter.
Interception of Sensitive pieces of information
As we do everything online nowadays we can become complacent and confident that since we are using our own devices that are connected to our Home or Office Wifi networks that are not secured we still consider it already safe and protected.
But I’m sorry to tell you that you need to think twice about that. One of the dangers or risks of using an unsecured wireless network is the interception of the data that you send or receive using that unprotected wireless network.
This includes your login credentials, sensitive information, and just any general data in transit using that unsecured WiFi network.
Any hacker nearby can easily tap in on your connection and gather all of your information in just a few clicks here and there.
All types of unencrypted data which are usually in form of plain text like your login credentials can be easily hacked and intercepted by hackers especially if they have the experience, equipment, and knowledge on how to do it—which most of them do.
As soon as cybercriminals see an opening or vulnerability in your wireless network they can commit all sorts of cybercrimes which nowadays are in the forms of identity theft, stealing credit card information, and more—not an ideal situation to be in.
Vulnerability to Infections
If you leave your wireless network out in the open and unprotected, prying hackers can easily access your network and devices leaving them highly susceptible to malicious software such as malware, ransomware, and viruses.
And of course, teachers can never deal with those kinds of things because a corrupted computer is the last thing they want now that online classes are still being implemented.
Teaching online means you need high-speed and reliable internet at all times to support your daily activities during online classes.
If unknown connections gain access to your network everything they do will take a chunk of your bandwidth resulting in slow internet and lag. While unauthorized users use your wireless connection for free, you will be then frustrated due to lag and inconvenience as it will also affect your productivity.
Your Wireless Network Can Be Used For Illegal Purposes
The last thing you will want is for someone to use your wireless connection for illegal usage because even though the internet is vast illegal activities can be easily tracked and if someone did indeed use your network for illegal actions it will then trace back to you.
If someone unknown gains access to your network and uses it to transmit illegal or illicit materials you who own the WiFi network might end up bearing the consequences without you having a say about it since the transaction has been done without your knowledge which is not acceptable on your part.
But have no fear, because as long as you take pre-emptive measures to secure your wireless network you won’t have to worry about all these risks.
How should I secure my wireless network? 10 Tips To Avoid Hefty Risks
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that WiFi is one of the most amazing things to have ever been invented in our time. Just imagine it! There would be a mess of endless wires and connections just so that we can stay connected to the internet.
But using amazing technologies such as the WiFi needs a few steps of precaution to protect yourself as well.
And here are some steps that you can follow to do that, it’s best to proceed with these steps while near your router.
#1. Change your wireless network’s SSID name.
When we use and connect our devices to a wireless network it lets us send and receive data information wirelessly which includes confidential and highly sensitive information.
It could be your passwords, bank account details, intellectual properties, and just about any type of information that we put into a device that is connected to that specific WiFi that we surely don’t want unknown people to get a hands-on ever.
And with that in mind, it’s in our best interest to keep them safe, secured, and hidden away from people who might use them for their own interest without our knowledge.
And to do just that it is a must for you to secure your wireless network the best you can because all information in transit over an unsecured network is incredibly susceptible to hacking anytime.
The first step that you can take is to change your wireless network’s Service Set Identifier or SSID name which is the name of the WiFi itself that you see whenever you try to connect to it. It’s your wireless network’s identifier.
But, it’s important to note that it’s preferable if you do not name your wireless network with a name that’s too personally related to your household. because this will then help hackers easily identify you making you an easy target.
You can follow the steps from the manual that your wireless router came in with and usually you will need to log in to the administration where it will let you configure the SSID name of your WiFi.
Most of the time you will see the log-in username and password at the bottom part of your router, and once you’re logged in you can then change the default SSID name to a new and your preferred name for your WiFi.
#2. Create a unique and complex WPA2 password
After changing your computer’s SSID name and while you’re still in there, the next thing that you will want to configure is your WiFi password.
There is three standard security types of password for WiFis; WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) which is the most simple and weak type of security it is also not that hard to break, this is usually found on some of the first routers out in the market back in the late 90s’.
Next is the WPA (WiFi Protected Access) which is quite good but not yet the best. WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access Version) is the one you need, it is the most recommended type of security for wireless networks nowadays.
A great way to create a good WiFi password is to choose one that’s hard to crack that you know that you will be the only one who knows it other than other users that you will let connect to your wireless network at home or your office.
It’s best to create a password that is a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers and other special characters like !, @,#,$, and more. It also should be 8 characters or more just to build the strength of your password.
Some sites can help you generate hard-to-crack passwords like this one from the passwords generator.
After you’ve decided what password to use, do not forget to write it down on a piece of paper just so that in case you accidentally forgot it, you always have a copy. Try to hide it in a safe spot that you’re familiar with so that when you need it you’ll know where to find it.
#3. Disable remote access
Remote access is a feature that lets a user have the ability to remotely access your router even if they are not currently connected to it which means even if the user is not physically present and even if they are connected to a different wireless network they can still go in and adjust your router’s configuration.
This feature is a bit advanced and you won’t probably use it anytime soon so it’s best to have it disabled. And you can just enable it if you are going to use it, this way you can keep outsiders at bay and your wireless network secure.
#4. Create a separate network for guests
There are times when you’ll have friends over and eventually ask you for your WiFi password and of course out of courtesy we will oblige and we surely don’t want to be rude and not give the password to them.
Once people put your WiFi password into their devices they’re stored forever not until they decide to remove it and forget the connection. And once they have that access, they will also gain access to all internet things within your network.
What you can do to still give them a fraction of access but not the full access of your wireless connection is to create a guest wifi network that they can use without accessing your primary internal network.
This is a great practice for security purposes to prevent your guest from unintentionally infecting your wireless network with malware and viruses, practical right?
You can also opt to have a separate router for this which can be a bit timely but worth the trouble. Some advanced routers can also provide you the feature to make this possible without needing to buy another router for this.
#5. Hide your wireless network from view
Initially, when you first get your router it is set to be seen publicly within the meter range it can throw and that means anybody who is within range will be able to see your SSID name.
And if you haven’t set up your SSID name, there’s a good chance that your neighbor who has the same router has the same SSID name as yours and that can be a bit complicated if things get mixed up.
Using the SSID hiding feature will disable your router’s SSID broadcasting feature making it more difficult to find for hackers.
#6. Place your router in the center of your home or office
The location of your router can also have an impact on your wireless network’s security.
If you are placing it near the window of your home, there’s a good chance that neighboring people within the range of your WiFi can also receive its broadcast, and the stronger signal they receive, the better they can configure, intercept, hack your wireless network and use it to the best of their interest.
To increase the protection of your wireless network’s signal, it’s best to place your router at the most center of your home as this will reduce the chances of anyone trying to access your WiFi signal.
#7. Use VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and what it does is establishes a secure connection between you and the internet, it can be used across all your devices. The VPN also safely transmits all your information via an encrypted virtual tunnel.
It also acts as a mask for your IP address which is great because instead of pinpointing your exact location it will show that you are browsing from a different location. Using a VPN is also the safest and most secure way to shield yourself from any type of external attack.
#8. Turn it off when not in use
It has been a practice of mine for a long time to not turn off my WiFi when I go out even on times when I know I’ll be gone for quite some time, little did I know that this is not a safe practice.
The last thing we want is opportunistic hackers getting into your network and fishing for all your precious information from your login credentials to your banking accounts down to your social media accounts.
Turning it off when you’re not at home is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of this from happening.
#9. Secure the firewall
A firewall is a network security device that protects your network from unwanted visitors. it can be hardware or software, either way, it will protect your computer and your wireless network.
A software firewall runs as an anti-virus program and is more common than hardware firewalls because they’re cheaper to install, but hardware firewalls are far more secured.
To protect your network against hackers, set your firewall to block traffic (by default) and then allow it only when you need it. You can set the firewall to allow traffic based on IP address or port number so that if someone tries to access your network via a different IP address or port number, they will be automatically denied access to your network.
#10. Choose quality hardware
When it comes to the hardware side of your wireless network, you want to make sure that you choose quality devices. There are a variety of products available on the market for securing your wireless network, and each one serves a different purpose.
For instance, if you need to secure an existing wireless network, then you will want to purchase wireless point access (WAP). If you are in need of more coverage and range, then consider buying a repeater or bridge.
if all else fails and nothing seems secure enough for your needs—your best option would be to purchase a new router that has built-in encryption capabilities such as a WPA2.
Securing your wireless network is necessary because protecting all your confidential and sensitive information online has the same level of importance when you’re protecting your valuables at home.
It’s just like how we try to keep our home safe from intruders, we lock the doors, make sure the windows are closed and that nobody gets in, especially unknown people.
So put your guard up, change your SSID name, and your WiFi password, and try to follow some of the steps I suggested and you’ll be a few steps ahead of people with malicious intent.
I hope this helped a lot, until our next one! Happy Browsing!