The most convenient way for every household member to access the internet via different devices is through WIFI. In order to have WIFI, you need a WIFI router or an access point. As much as this is a convenient way, it poses some risks that can affect everyone connected to the router. For instance, an unauthorized user can connect to the WIFI and use it through what is called piggybacking. If it’s a malicious user, a lot of data can be at risk and more attacks and threats such as blackmail, identity fraud and even spread of malware may follow. This is why you need to secure your WIFI. Below are ways in which you can make sure your personal WIFI is safe;
Change the default settings
Default settings include the SSID name, passwords and other settings. To secure your WIFI, ensure you use a strong password which only the members that are allowed to connect should know. Open WIFI is an invitation for anybody who is within range of the access point/ router. The other setting you should change is the SSID name – this is the name that the WIFI access point displays. Most routers have their account information online and based on the default SSID name; a malicious user can gain access to your WIFI network.
Filter connecting devices
Routers have the capability of deciding which devices are allowed to connect to it. This is done by filtering the MAC addresses – a MAC address is like a hardware IP address. Network devices use network interface cards (NIC) to connect to the internet. These cards have physical addresses that are used to identify the device on a network. These physical addresses are known as MAC addresses. Unlike IP address, MAC addresses are usually in a pair of 6 digits separated by ‘:’ Here is an example, a1:b2:c3:d4:e5:f6. When you filter MAC addresses, you specify what addresses are allowed to use your WIFI. Most devices have these addresses under ‘about device’ section. In windows, type ‘ipconfig/all’ on command prompt to know your MAC address.
Most routers allow you to update their firmware to the latest version. Updates usually contain patches that take care of vulnerabilities and also fix other bugs and flaws.
Install a VPN on your router
Lastly, you can enhance the overall security of your WIFI by installing a VPN. Most VPN providers have tutorials and guides on how to install a VPN on your router. But for this work, your router must meet the requirements of supporting a VPN connection. You can as well as by a VPN ready router. Here what you gain when you install a VPN on your router;
- Overall security and privacy – a VPN provides security via encryptions and also assigns you a new IP address. These encryptions ensure that your internet traffic is safe from prying eyes. Also, you will utilize effectively the simultaneous connections offered by many VPN providers.
- Internet of things (IoT) will be covered – VPN providers don’t have VPN customs apps for smart devices such as a fridge and other Smart TVs. Installing a VPN on your router means everything that connects to the internet via the router is protected even if it doesn’t support a VPN.
Besides overall protection, installing a VPN on your router may have some downsides such as traffic between your device and the router is not protected and you might lose some smart home features such as smartly controlling devices. Also, if you don’t have a powerful router, you might experience a drastic drop in speed due to a drop in router performance. This is because encryption requires a significant amount of computing power.