Did you know that your wifi router or gateway might not be secure? It’s true – unless you’ve taken steps to secure this device, it’s wide open to hackers. Luckily, securing your wifi router isn’t hard.
First, you need to access your gateway’s admin dashboard and change the login credentials. Then you need to enable WPA3 encryption and turn on automatic updates. Turn off features like remote access, UPnP, and WPS. Change your home wireless network name and password, and set up a guest network for extra security.
Login to the Admin Dashboard
Have you ever accessed your router’s admin dashboard? Lots of people haven’t. You’ll need to navigate to your router’s IP address by entering the IP address into your URL search bar. You should be able to find the IP address written on the bottom of the router. Once you get to the IP address, you’ll enter your router’s default login credentials to access the admin dashboard. The default login credentials should be in your router’s setup documentation, or you can find them by googling “default login credentials+router model+router brand”. Once you’ve gained access to the router’s admin dashboard, change your default username and password to something more secure.
Enable WPA3 Encryption
You’ll want to do several other things while you’re in your router’s admin dashboard. First, enable WPA3 encryption for your network. WPA3 is the most recent Wi-Fi encryption protocol and the strongest. If it’s not available on your router, you need a new router.
Turn on Automatic Updates
You want your router’s firmware to be updated automatically as soon as new updates are available, because that keeps the router as secure as possible against threats. Router manufacturers fill these firmware updates with patches to fix security flaws that have been discovered since the last update. The updates can also improve performance and repair bugs. If your router isn’t getting updates anymore, you need a new one.
Turn Off Remote Access, UPnP, and WPS
Next, you’ll turn off remote access, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). Remote access can allow someone who is not connected to your home network to access your router’s admin dashboard remotely. Turn this off unless you have a burning need to access your router’s settings while away from home.
UPnP allows you to easily connect smart devices to your home network, but it can also leave the door open for malware to obtain a high level of access to your router. WPS can also allow unauthorized devices to connect to the network, and most people don’t even use it.
Enable Your Firewall
Most routers have built-in firewall protection. Turning it on can protect both your router and your network by monitoring data traffic onto your network and stopping anything that seems suspicious. If you don’t have a built-in firewall on your router or you need another level of protection, you can buy network security software from a manufacturer like Trend Micro.
Change Your Home Wireless Network Name
You should change your default service set identifier (SSID) (also known as a network name) to something that doesn’t give away any identifying info about you or your family. You also need to choose a new, secure password for your Wi-Fi network. Change your Wi-Fi password and your router admin password every six months at least.
Set Up a Guest Network
If you think about it, you don’t really know what kind of malicious software might be present on your guests’ devices. That’s not to say your guests are malicious – they may not know about the malware either. So do you really want them connecting to the same network with your own devices? Keeping them on a guest network can protect your devices from malware and viruses that might be present on your guest’s devices and able to hop to other devices on the same network.
Every device that connects to your home network provides a potential access point for hackers. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a guest network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, too. These devices are notoriously insecure, and hackers can use them to get into your network. Separate them onto a guest network so that hackers who infiltrate your smart fridge can’t get onto your router or your smartphone. You can hide your primary SSID so that only you will know the network is there, adding an additional layer of security.
Is your gateway or router secure? If it was, you’d know. Take control of your router security, and keep cyber criminals at bay.
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