Maintaining the security of the router is essential. The good news is that these steps are not very difficult and time consuming and significantly reduce your risk.
Router security has improved in recent years, but there are still steps you can take to better protect yourself.
Your router may be the most important device in your home. It monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic and acts as a watchdog to ensure that nothing dangerous enters and nothing sensitive is destroyed. It controls access to your home Wi-Fi network and through it all phones, tablets, laptops and more. If someone else has access to that network – whether a remote hacker or your neighbor – it can quickly compromise these devices.
Due to this, maintaining the security of the router is essential. The good news is that these steps are not very difficult and time consuming and significantly reduce your risk.
For these tips you need to access your router settings, you can usually do this through a web browser by entering the IP address or if you are lucky through the app on the phone. If you are unsure how to find these settings, check the documentation that came with the router or do a quick web search using your router model.
You must use the WPA2 security standard to protect access to your router, which is essentially required to provide a password to connect to any new device. This is enabled on almost every router by default, but if it is not enabled on your device, turn it on through the router settings.
It is best to change your Wi-Fi password regularly. Yes, it does mean you have to reconnect all your devices, but it also deters unwanted visitors who may be lurking. Your router settings panel should provide you with a list of connected devices, although it may be difficult to interpret.
We also recommend that you change the password you need to access the router settings, as most people just leave the defaults in place – and that means someone who knows the defaults or can Guess it can reconfigure your router. Like any password, make it very difficult to guess but impossible to forget.
These password settings should be prominently displayed on the router settings page, and if you have a newer model router, you may receive alerts if it is very easy to guess new passwords. It won’t be long before WPA2 replaces WPA3, which offers more suites and forgets about its security, but until then, pay close attention to the health of your Wi-Fi password.
Keep your user interface up to date
Your router runs low-level software called firmware, which basically controls everything the router does. It sets your network security standards, sets rules about what devices can be connected, and more.
Some of the more modern routers update themselves in the background, but whatever model you have, it’s always worth keeping up to date with the operating system. This means that you have received the latest bug fixes and security patches and will be protected against any recently discovered vulnerabilities.
This process varies from router to router, but like password settings, finding the router firmware option should not be too difficult in the router control panel. If you have any problems with this, check the router documentation or official support site on the web.
If you are lucky, the process will be done automatically. You may even receive phone alerts each time an operating system update is applied, which usually happens overnight. If you are unlucky, you may have to download the new operating system from the manufacturer’s site and redirect your router to it. If so, it’s well worth the extra effort.
Disable Remote Access, UPnP, and WPS
Many routers have features designed to make remote access easy from outside your home, but unless you need access to your router level manager from elsewhere, You can usually safely turn off these features from the router settings page. In addition, most remote access programs work well without them.
Another feature you should pay attention to is Universal Plug and Play. Designed to make it easy for devices such as game consoles and smart TVs to access the web without taking you too far through configuration pages, UPnP can also be used by malicious programs to gain high-level access to your router’s security settings.
Keeping remote access and UPnP on does not suddenly expose you to the worst internet, but turn them off if you want to be as secure as possible. If it turns out that some of your network applications and devices trust them, you can reactivate the features without much worry.
You should also consider turning off Wi-Fi Protected. WPS allows you to connect new devices by pressing a button or PIN code, but it also makes it easy to access unauthorized devices. In brute force attacks, it is easier to discover a numeric PIN than an alphabetical password. Disable it unless you need it specifically.
Use a guest network
if available If your router can broadcast a so-called guest network, use it. As the name implies, this means that you can allow the rest of your network – Sonos speakers, shared laptop folders, printers, etc. – without allowing your guests to connect to Wi-Fi.
Your friends and family may not be hackers, but allowing them on your home network means they may have access to a file you prefer not to use, or inadvertently change settings somewhere that cause problems. Be. It also puts another speed in front of someone who secretly wants to access your network without your permission – even if he can enter the guest network, he will no longer be able to control your devices or router.
Your router should have this option to hide your main network SSID – basically the name of the network that appears when scanning for Wi-Fi devices. If visitors can not see this network, then they can not connect to it, but you can add devices to it because you know what it is called. (And if you’re not sure, it’s listed in your router settings.)
Keep security in mind
Despite decades of neglect, most routers offered over the past few years are very secure. Manufacturers understand the importance of router security and reliability more than ever, so products are much more user-friendly than ever. They now make many basic security settings for you.
With that in mind, one of the highest risks of your router is being compromised by a device it thinks it can trust – in other words, something on your phone or laptop can access it and cause mischief. Maybe by secretly opening a remote access point to your router.
To minimize this risk, follow good security principles at home and keep all your devices up to date with the latest software. You have the right to choose which browser apps and extensions to install, and from your devices. Protect yourself with tough passwords. Everyone is different. Better yet, get a password manager. Make sure your devices are protected by the right security software whenever possible.
There are probably a lot of devices connected to your router, from phones to smart speakers, you have to lock and protect them all – as soon as they connect to Wi Fi, they connect to you. If any device does not require Wi-Fi access, turn it off. You will be glad you did.