In a world that’s more connected every day, we usually overlook one fundamental topic: protecting our Wi-Fi connection from potential hacks.
Although many people are familiar with the cybersecurity basics, it’s never wrong to investigate further.
Hackers can compromise the safety of your Wi-Fi in many different ways, and it’s good to be prepared. After all, there’s a ransomware attack every 2 seconds.
Let’s explore five effective strategies to protect your home Wi-Fi and ensure that you stay safe in the digital world.
The basics: How vulnerable is your Wi-Fi to attacks?
Before exploring the best protection strategies, we must understand the most common risks of a Wi-Fi connection.
Hackers are familiar with the most common vulnerabilities and can gain unauthorized access to the network.
This can lead to stolen data, privacy invasions, and access to other people’s confidential information.
The five most common methods hackers use to attack a Wi-Fi connection are these:
- Eavesdropping: in this type of attack, cybercriminals capture the Wi-Fi signals and gain access to private information;
- Brute force attacks: happen when hackers try to guess the Wi-Fi password by trying different ones until they get it right;
- Evil twin attacks: the attackers set up Wi-Fi networks with similar names to your private network and trick you into connecting to it to steal information;
- Wi-Fi phishing: this kind of attack consists of fake websites where you must log in; They can then steal your username and password and connect to your real Wi-Fi;
- Network exploitation: cybercriminals find and exploit the vulnerable spots in the connection or the connected devices, thus gaining access to your sensitive information.
Now that you’re aware of the different threats out there let’s dive into what you can do to protect yourself from cyberattacks.
1. You need a strong Wi-Fi password
A password is the first line of defense against hackers.
Having a strong password and changing it every few months is essential. In fact, 30% of internet users have experienced cyberattacks due to a weak password.
When creating a strong password, consider these tips:
- Go for long and unique passwords. Don’t be afraid to make it complex;
- Don’t use common words or personal information;
- Mix upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers;
- Update it regularly to keep the security level at its max.
2. Enable your network’s encryption system
You can save your data from attacks like eavesdropping if you enable Wi-Fi network encryption protocols, like WPA3 or WPA 2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 or 3).
What does encryption do? It ensures that the information exchanged between the devices and the router is safe from hackers.
To enable encryption, follow these steps:
- Go into the router’s settings by entering the IP address in the browser;
- Detect the encryption settings and pick the safest option available (WPA 3 if you have it);
- Choose a strong phrase for the encryption that doesn’t match the Wi-Fi password.
3. Update the router’s firmware regularly
Keeping the firmware updated is fundamental to keeping a high-security level.
Normally, router manufacturers release these updates to keep up with the different online threats and enhance overall network protection.
So, here’s what you have to do to update your router’s firmware:
- Get into the manufacturer’s website and see where the support or download sections are;
- Enter the model number of your router and download the most recent firmware update;
- Go to the “firmware update” section in the router’s settings;
- Follow the instructions and download the latest firmware file.
4. Consider a firewall for the network
When you enable a firewall, you can count on extra protection for the home network. A firewall can monitor incoming and outgoing traffic, detecting abnormalities fast.
Fortunately, routers today come with built-in firewalls. You still have to check that it’s enabled to stay safe online, so follow these steps:
- Go to the router’s settings and click on the firewall section;
- Enable the firewall if it isn’t already active;
- Customize the settings to match what you need;
- Check the firewall logs frequently to detect any weird activity.
5. Get a Virtual Private Network service (VPN)
Downloading a VPN is a great way to stay safe online. This is especially true when you connect to different Wi-Fi services throughout the day.
A VPN encrypts your traffic by hiding the IP address. This ensures the safety of the information and your anonymity. Follow these four simple steps to set up a VPN service:
- Pick a reputable VPN provider;
- Install the VPN on every device;
- Connect it to whatever server you prefer;
- Enjoy safe internet navigation, improved online security, and many other advantages.
You can even set up a static VPN, which will always have the same IP address even if you disconnect and reconnect to the server. If you need to access a specific region regularly, you can take advantage of this feature.
As a bonus, here are 3 extra tips to improve your home Wi-Fi security:
- Disable remote management features on the router. This helps you prevent external unauthorized access;
- Disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). You can be vulnerable to brute force attacks with it enabled;
- Enable MAC address filtering, and allow trusted devices to connect to your network.
To sum up
Protecting your home Wi-Fi connection from hacks is vital in today’s digital landscape.
If you strengthen your Wi-Fi password, enable the network’s encryption, update the router’s firmware regularly, use a firewall, and get a trustworthy VPN service, you can ensure your network’s safety and protect your personal information.
Stay secure, and stay connected!