WiFi internet connections have become increasingly valuable particularly for people who rely on the internet for communication, work, entertainment, shopping among others. Any person with an internet connection at home only gets internet worth the amount of money they pay. Adding a good wireless router allows you to broadcast access points form maximum utilization of the connection. However, if the broadcasted signal is not secured properly, it can be picked outside the home by neighbors and used without your knowledge. Here are some useful ideas on how you can protect your WiFi from being tapped by neighbors or hackers outside your home:
Change Router Login Details
Each router comes with a default password and username to allow users access the first time they install it. Upon installation, change the login details immediately because for each router that exists, default usernames are in public record. Failing to change these details makes it very easy for any person with access to the router to tap into your connection and even alter the settings. If you fear forgetting your new login details, just write them down. Even so, that shouldn’t worry you because you can always reset the router to the default settings.
Change Your Network Name
Your wireless network will be identified using the service set identifier (SSID).Your router comes with a default SSID which is often the router’s brand name like Linksys or Netgear. Others combine the brand name and the model number. It is important to change your network identification details to something more personalized as soon as you install the router. This is because the default SSID makes it very easy for hackers or neighbors to identify your network and access your wireless network.
If you have not changed your login details, they can easily use the SSID to get the default login details and access your connection. It is advisable to create a random network name and customize using as many characters as you feel comfortable. Long SSIDs can help keep neighbors off your network because it makes it difficult to crack or use rainbow table to access it.
Activate your Router Encryption
Activating encryption on your router is the most critical thing you need to do to protect unauthorized persons from accessing your internet connection at home. To do this, look out for router settings and go to the security options. Once you find the options, activate the WPA2 Personal button. In some routers, this might appear as WPA2-PSK. If both are not among options available, use WPA Personal. Set your encryption type as AES and avoid using TKIP then enter your password, often referred to as the network key for your encrypted connection.
Note that the network key is not the password you set for the router. Rather, this is the key that any device seeking to connect to the Wi-Fi will be required to enter. It is therefore advisable to use a long phrase or word that people cannot guess but also easy enough to key into each device you need to connect to the computer. In your password, have a mix of special characters, numbers, uppercase as well as lowercase characters so that it is extremely strong.
Deactivate WPS Feature
Once you are done encrypting your router, deactivate the WPS button. This is a function that allows devices to be paired easily with a router even with active encryption. With physical access to the router in your house and an active WPS, your neighbors can pair their gadgets with your router instantly unless you have tight security. While it is convenient and courteous to allow guests access to your internet network without an encryption key, it is always better to put a password and give it to people that you trust. Keep changing the password from time to time to ensure that unauthorized persons who might have accessed it are not able to tap into your WiFi.
Deactivate “allow admin via wireless” Button
An important precaution to take to ensure your neighbors don’t access your Wi-Fi is to turn off your router’s “allow admin via wireless” button. By doing this, you ensure that other people including wireless hackers do not get control over the wireless router. When you turn this feature off, your router only allows you to administrate it from the computer that you have connected directly through an Ethernet cable. Anybody who needs to access the router’s admin console has to be in your house.
Activate your Router Firewall
Routers have built-in firewalls that help guard the internal network from external attacks. If the firewall has not been automatically activated, be sure to turn it on. When you check on the options you might find network address translation (NAT) or stateful packet inspection (SPI). Whatever the case, activate it so you have an additional protection layer. To ensure full protection including ensuring that your software does not send messages across the network or the internet without permission, get firewall software and install in your computer as well.