Unauthorized access to your private data, eavesdropping and stealing are far too common due to your wireless connection not being secure enough. Setting up a secure network can be easy if you follow along.
Internet access is available right at your fingertips at all times. From home, you can connect from your phone,iPod, iPad, laptop, Xbox and more. It’s a great thing because all of this wireless connection eliminates cables. The one great aspect of these pesky cables was that with them, it became fairly difficult for anyone to steal your bandwidth.
Now, anyone can access your network, even from a few doors down. Due to this ease of access, if you’re paying for every byte of data transfer, your monthly bill is guaranteed to go up. Your internet speed may subsequently slow down if too many people are accessing that connection. Also, when others are utilizing your internet connection, they may be able to hack your computer and access your files. Sharing your network can be detrimental because it opens up the possibility for personal files and protected data to be compromised. This could become a huge loss if personal or business information gets into the wrong hands. Without a secure network, you are welcoming a myriad of calamities.
We will discuss three techniques: broadcast SSID prevention, MAC address restrictions and encrypting. They can be used on their own or together to create a stronger barrier to prevent your network from being compromised.
Step One: Locate and Open Up Your Router Settings Page
To locate your router’s settings page, it is said that you can type “192.168.1.1” into your web browser, the same area you would type the web address you want to visit. When you are prompted to, type in your user name and password. If this doesn’t work, you can reference your router’s user manual for directions.
Step Two: Create a Password for Your Router
Once logging on to your router,create a password to begin making your network more secure. Others will not have access to your network now and only you can maintain and make changes to the settings. To change the password, access the settings and you should have no problem locating password information there. It should be noted that, as with any password, you should make this unique, and difficult to crack.
Try to make it very abstract and uncommon, probably just a bunch of random letters and numbers. Creating this password is important, and it is even more important that it is kept private and safe. When a password is effectively typed into a device, it is not visible and becomes a bunch of dots or asterisks, so the people with whom you decide to share it with will not tell someone else.
Preferably, the password should be 20 characters long and made up of a mix of characters, randomly boggled together. Of course, it should be nearly impossible for you to remember the password. Saving it somewhere will help you out a lot for any time you need it. You can opt to store it in a hidden file on your computer or cell phone, or write it in a piece of paper and hide it somewhere in your home.
Step Three: Change the Name of Your Network’s SSID
Upon purchase and set-up of your router, the SSID(Service Set Identifier) of your router is pre-set as something very basic, which is usually a product name drop. Changing this name will help you out. The change may not seem like it does much, but it will provide clarity as to which network is being connected to. This setting and the process to change the name can be located within the wireless settings when you go to access your router’s settings home page.
Once you change this name, you will always be reassured that you are joining the correct network in the sea of all the other random ones. Steer clear of utilizing any personal information in the SSID name. It should be unique and random. Think of using something like your favorite food, movie or book. When people try and hack systems, they will sometimes use some software to do so. This software will quickly run through many passwords and password patterns so try very hard to be original in your selection.
Step Four: Enable Network Encryption
Network encryption is a security process that utilizes crypto services at the network transfer layer which is just above the data link level but still below the application level. For those that are less tech-savvy, this means that data moving over communications networks is protected. To prevent and/or stop other computers and users from using your internet connection and possibly tapping into your files, encrypting your network is essential.
To get started allowing encryption on your home or work network, head over to the wireless security settings on your router’s settings and/or configuration page and open them up. This page should then allow you to be able to choose which security process you want to select. Enter the password to sign on to the network.
Step Five: Filter Out Your Mac Addresses
It does not matter if you are on a desktop, laptop or a wifi-enabled smartphone, all of these systems have a MAC address. The MAC address is the media access control address that is used to communicate with a network segment. Here is something you should do to add even more security.
Adding every MAC address on all your devices to your wireless router’s options will make it so that only your devices are able to form a connection to your safe network. MAC addresses are deeply coded so only one device will be allowed on the network if that is how you establish your settings. It should be noted that one can mimic a MAC address, but it is a little more challenging with these extra precautions.
To enable and allow MAC address “filtering”, you will input all addresses you trust to connect to the network (think all devices you use to connect to the internet). Find these device’s “MAC addresses,” and then go ahead and add them to the list that you can locate in the settings. To locate each device’s MAC address, you can do a short google search to find instructions for your device.
Step Six: Reduce Your Wireless Signal’s Range
For a small house or an apartment, there is no need for a high range. This is overshooting predictions and can lead to someone farther away trying to tap into your network. To decrease the range of the signal, try altering the router mode to 802.11g or use a completely separate wireless channel.
Reducing the direction of the signals can be done by placing the router inside a drawer, inside a cardboard box or by wrapping some tape around the router antennas. As of recently, a wifi blocking paint has been developed to be able to block radio signals by simply absorbing them. Painting your router with this paint can help you secure your network.
Step Seven: Upgrade your Firmware
It is important to make sure that your router has the most up to date firmware on occasion. You can locate the most up to date firmware for your router using the router’s dashboard with the 192.168 trick discussed earlier.
Step Eight: Let’s Connect to Your Secure Wireless Network
After you have sorted through these motions listed and successfully enabled the numerous security options, it is pertinent to input your new options into all of your devices. This will ensure that they will all be able to connect to the wifi network without error.
You can even elect to have your computer connect on its own to this particular network without you having to provide any credentials.
If you followed along, your wireless network will now be much more difficult to tap into.
Step Nine: Install a Firewall
Installing a firewall can assist you in defending your network against any external threats. A firewall will block any malicious traffic from setting foot into your secure network and will notify you when any potentially dangerous activity begins to occur. When it is appropriately configured and set up, it can also act as a barrier for any internal threats, preventing any of your files from leaving your computer.
Most, if not all wireless routers, seem to come along with a configurable network firewall that is built-in and has access controls and denial-of-service (DoS) defenses. It should be noted that sometimes, the firewall may be toggled off by default upon purchase. Make sure that your firewall is on and that you have selected all options and settings to best suit you and your needs. Many firewalls are also available for purchase online. Be sure to choose one that again will work best for your needs.
Many tips, some discussed in this article, were found available at Comparitech.If you are nervous and believe someone has logged into your network without permission, you can open up your router’s administration page by using the 192.168. address discussed earlier. Here, look for the DHCP Clients Table. You can locate this under your network’s status settings. Now, you will be able to see a list of all computers and also wireless devices that are currently connected to your home network.
Turning off the router in entirety when you are not using the computer is also a good plan. Not only do you save on electricity, but your network is absolutely safe. When you want to allow a new device to connect to your secure network, you will need to find its MAC address and then go ahead and add it to your router. If you are just allowing someone to connect to your wireless network just one time, keep in mind that you have the ability to remove the MAC address from the router settings when he or she leaves your place.
Benefits of a Secure Network
If your network was running slowly, securing the network should have cured that, so feel free to browse the web or work from home without slow speeds holding you back. If you had unexplainable, intermittent losses in Internet access it may have been your unsecured network causing a slow connection.
Previously, your router may have been experiencing interference from other outsiders, but now, your network is secure. Data interception, adware, spam, spyware, hackers and viruses are all kept at bay with a secure network.
You are now on your way to minimizing your risk for attacks, infections, and possible security breaches. If you are a company or utilize your computer for work, reaching an acceptable level of security can be difficult but is made much more possible with the help of securing your networks.
Keeping your personal or work files free from contamination and interception is paramount in today’s collaborative working environment, where information is passed on amongst individuals inside of a company as well as amongst other co-workers, consultants, partners, data analysts, and others outside the company. This sharing happens worldwide.
Network security also maintains the privacy of your sensitive data, such as personal information and confidential business materials, and keeps it private and out of the hands of any unauthorized individuals.
Securing your network is all about keeping personal data secure from others. All of the methods and plans presented here are free and do not cost money, so it would be silly not to put these plans into place to protect yourself. Thinking about getting hacked via your network feels like being robbed or burglarized and leaving your network and router open and available to that threat is naive. Take the proper steps to protect yourself. To go farther in protecting yourself, technicians are ready to assist you at RSI Security in taking larger steps to secure your network, beyond what you were able to accomplish from this guide.
Download Our Cybersecurity Checklist
Prevent costly and reputation damaging breaches by implementing cybersecurity best practices. Get started with our checklist today.