Back to back information-sharing and data breach scandals have made it easier to realize that our personal details online are not safe and secure.
We are often being tracked and monitored by various government agencies and third parties. Not only this, but various hackers and scammers are eyeing our internet activities to get unauthorized control over our data.
The recent Cambridge Analytica Scandal is one such incident which led people to question their privacy online. For starters, by using it, a British consulting firm accessed the details of millions of Facebook users and used the harvested data for political campaigns.
But it is not just user activities and accounts online we’re talking about. In addition to this, your home network is also exposed to a considerable risk. And it is no more limited to computers, tablets, or smartphones. As we continue to connect our workplaces and homes to various devices, our privacy is at stake more than ever.
It all starts with a vulnerable router. Incorrectly configured home network, poor basic security, lack of firmware updates, and weak passwords can play against you and expose you to a range of cyber threats.
This brings us to an obvious question – can we do anything to keep our home network, and thus all our devices, safe and secure? Well, yes, a little care goes a long way. And here’s how.
· Change the default name of a home network
This is one of the basic ways through which you can secure your home network. All you need to do is change the name of your Wi-Fi network, which is also known as SSID or Service Set Identifier.
How does this help? When you change your WiFi’s default name, it becomes difficult for attackers to identify the type of router that you have. In simple words, if hackers and attackers know the manufacturer of your router, they will be aware of what different vulnerabilities your model is exposed to. This makes it easier for them to exploit your network.
As a basic rule of thumb, do not name your home network something like “Mark’s Wi-Fi”. This would make it easy for the attackers to recognize your network.
· Set a strong and unique password
More often than not, every wireless router comes with a default username and password which are necessary to install and configure your router once you purchase it. But this has its own downside: it becomes simpler for the hackers to break into your network, especially if they know the manufacturer.
Thus, make sure you change the WiFi name and password immediately. Ideally, your password should be at least 20 characters long. It should contain the right mix of numbers, letters, and various symbols.
· Activate network encryption
You might not know that, but a wireless network comes equipped with a range of encryption languages, like WPA, WPA2, and WEP.
For starters, WPA2 stands for WiFi Protected Access 2 and is widely used. It encrypts traffic on WiFi networks. This protocol is an upgrade to the already existing WPA (WiFi protected access) and WEP (Wired equivalent privacy).
Thus, it is highly recommended to activate the latest protocol, WPA2.
· Mind the location of your WiFi router
This might sound a bit absurd at first, but believe us, the location of your router matters a lot. It is highly recommended to place your router in the middle of your house Why? It has two advantages. First, you will get access to the internet in all the rooms of your home. Secondly, when you keep it in the middle of your home, your WiFi signal doesn’t reach too much outside of your home where it can be compromised.
· Update your router software
The firmware of your wireless router, like various other software, contains flaws and can be intercepted. This is perhaps why it is necessary to update your software from time to time to secure your network.
However, most routers don’t come with an option to auto-update their software. Thus, you should do it manually.
· Turn off the network when not in use
We would highly recommend you to turn off the wireless home network when you are not at home. This would prevent hackers from attempting to get access to the router while you are away.
· Use a VPN
This is one of the best and easiest ways through which you can protect your home network from attackers. A VPN sets up a virtual private network such that it routes all your internet traffic through a secured tunnel. Add to that the fact that a VPN makes use of various high-end protocols and encrypting languages to make sure your internet activities are not tracked and monitored. There are various VPN services which are compatible with routers and can help you in securing your home network.
These were a few ways which can protect your home network from attackers. How many of these tips do you follow to secure your network? Do let us know in the comments below!