Top 5 Tips for Securing your Wireless Router
Having wifi available at your home is essentially ubiquitous these days, with nearly everyone expecting to be able to access a wifi network on their laptop or mobile device at any time. However, due to signal strengths increasing, many people near your house will be able to detect your wifi network, meaning it is very very important to keep it secure. Why is it so important? If a stranger was able to access your wifi network there are many things they could do with that access that could cause you both financial and legal issues.
On the financial side, they could launch a man in the middle attack and steal your bank and email logins the next time you use them, then empty your accounts. On the legal side, if a person connected to your wifi network and then used the connection to download pirated or illegal materials, you as the network owner would be very hard pressed to prove that it was not you that downloaded those materials. As we have seen in the case of the Dallas Buyers Club lawsuit, you could then be up for quite significant financial fines. Or even worse if the stranger downloaded illegal materials which carry a jail term.
So to keep your network safe, put the five following tips into practice:
- Take Advantage of MAC Filtering
This is a setting not many people even know about, let along enable on their wireless router. MAC filtering allows you to add a list of verified MAC addresses to your wifi router, and if a device not on that list tries to connect, the connection will be refused. A MAC address is basically a hardware ID, which identifies a computer or mobile device, somewhat like a machine fingerprint.
- Use a Secure Password
Length of password is essentially the strongest feature you can add into a wifi password, as the longer it is the harder it will be to break using a brute force attack. It is also very important not to use a password that is in any way connected to your location, such as using Bondi2026 as your password if you live in Bondi, Sydney Australia which has a postcode of 2026. That is just too easy for a person to guess. The best password will be a mix of numbers and letters, but something that is easy to remember as having it written down is a big risk in itself.
- Change the default router name
Routers all have default names, and that is not information that you want to be broadcasting. A hacker knowing the brand and model of your router makes it that much easier for them to find exploits and gain access to your network.
- Reduce Signal Range
As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons that WIFI security has become such an issue is because signal range has improved so greatly that the effective range of your router is often past the boundaries of your home and even to the street outside. Placing your router in a location central to the home and reducing signal range so it just covers your property will be a great step in the right direction.
- Regularly monitor Access Logs
Checking your access logs regularly to see which devices have connected will help you know if someone has gained access to your router without your permission. Do this regularly, especially if you have not implemented the MAC address list in our first tip.