A router is possibly the most important gadget in your home or business. It keeps a handle on all incoming and outgoing web traffic. It's your first line of defense again malicious attacks from cybercriminals. It has access to your wireless internet, and through that, every connected mobile device.
If a hacker were to gain access to your network, all of those devices would be compromised. You might not be worried about someone using your wireless connection, but the real risk is exposing the sensitive information you send and receive. This means your emails, banking information, and maybe even your smart home’s daily schedule could all be compromised.
This is why it's necessary to keep your router secure. So let’s take a look at how we can significantly reduce your risk.
Every new device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) you bring into your home should need to enter a password to log on to your network. This is done by enabling WPA2 security. Usually, this is the default setting on your router, but if its not, switch it through your router settings.
Change your Wi-Fi password often. Sure, you will have to reconnect all of your devices, but so will any potential lurkers on your network.
A lot of new routers come with default passwords, so you should immediately change these during setup. Many people leave them in place, but that means someone who knows the default password could potentially reconfigure your router.
Password settings can be found inside the router settings panel. Just be aware that the admin password for your router is not the same as your Wi-Fi network password (nor should it be).
Keep the Firmware Up to Date
Your router runs low-level software called firmware - which essentially controls everything the router does. It sets the security standards for your network and defines the rules about which devices can connect.
While some modern routers will update automatically, it is always good to double check. New exploits occur frequently, and updating often will ensure you are protected against them.
This process will differ between routers, but the option to update firmware shouldn’t be too difficult to find within the router control panel. Check your router documents or the official support site for instructions.
Use a Guest Network
Take advantage of your routers ability to broadcast a guest network. As you probably assumed, a guest network allows visitors to connect to the internet without giving them access to the other devices on your network.
It is unlikely that your friends are secret hacker agents, but letting them on your main network means they might get into a file that they shouldn’t or accidentally change one of your settings. A guest network also creates another obstacle in the way of anyone secretly trying to gain access to your system. If they do manage to get onto your guest network, they won't be able to gain access to other devices in your home or office.
Additionally, you can also hide the name of your main network (or SSID). If visitors can't see this network, then they can't connect to it. You'll still be able to add devices to it though because you'll know what it's called. (And if you're not sure, it'll be listed in your router settings.)
Talk to an Expert (You know, like us.)
Even after taking these basic steps, it is an arduous task to keep up with the ever-evolving threats in cybersecurity. Get in touch with us if you nee our help through the process.