In most cases, our wireless home routers are simply set up for us and installed. From that point, we forget about it as long as we’re constantly connected to the internet. What we don’t know is, home routers make for prime targets for cyber-criminals or hackers who want to infiltrate our network.
Nowadays, more features like wireless access points, VPN, telephony services, User Control Access (UAC) are added in routers to be able to keep up with the complexity and advancements of internet-of things (IoT) connected devices. As such, many consumer including small business routers become susceptible to security risks and attacks. It is also worth noting that many of these routers could come with insecure default configuration settings, are preloaded with backdoors, and have firmware flaws. While it is beyond the user’s capability to fix these problems, there are many ways and countermeasures to protect your home routers from becoming an infection vector. Fortunately, you don’t need to be tech-savvy or to be able to adjust the security of your router. Here are a few simple hacks on how you can do so:
Change network name or SSID and default admin credentials – after connecting to your router’s management interface, the address will show your router’s default IP address. Make sure the first thing you do is change the network name and password. For example, from Linksys or Netgear, change it to a unique name that doesn’t identify you. Additionally, change the default username and password to a more complex one to prevent hackers from successfully applying brute force attacks.
Turn on your router’s firewall and use security software – most people might now know it, but a router’s built-in firewall may not be automatically turned on so it’s best to check if it’s enabled. For added protection, use security software.
Update firmware OS regularly – to prevent flaws and vulnerabilities from being exploited, make sure that the router’s firmware is always up-to-date. This helps fix critical bugs as well as deploy patches accordingly.
Enable WPA2 wireless network encryption – pick the best form of encryption that is compatible with your wireless network. Encryption should help protect and secure your data from third parties and hackers.
Turn off Remote Access – most routers allow access to its interface from a connected device. Unfortunately, some routers permit access even from remote systems, essentially allowing hackers to access privacy settings. To avoid this, make sure to disable Remote Access.
Set up a guest Wi-Fi network – though some might find it unnecessary, it’s still better to enable a guest network (if your router offers it) for a set period of time. This especially helps boost protection for IoT devices and prevents possible compromise of systems and access. If setting up a guest network is not possible and you give away your password, make sure to change it as often as possible to prevent unwanted access.
*This article was originally published in Eastern Communications website for the benefit of educational purposes. The information in this article is meant soley to educate users.
Keywords: internet-of things
By: Mira Ojena
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