First off, we should say that there’s no such thing as 100% security. Every time you send a piece of data over a wireless signal, you are exposing it to outside attackers. There are, however, plenty of ways to make your wireless network and data more secure. The following is a list of 9 ways to do just that.
Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) is an encryption method and security certification program developed to secure wireless computer networks. All but the oldest wireless devices support it, so you should have very little trouble using WPA2.
2. Change Default Passwords
When setting up a new router, it’s important that you change the default password of the admin account.
To change the admin password, you will have to go to the System or Administration section, or the Wireless Settings of the interface.
For some tips on how to create a strong password, read our post How to Create a Secure Password.
3. Turn off Guest Networking
Guest networking allows others to access your routers. By default, it’s not a very secure method to permit access. There are security protocols you can add, but it’s safest to simply turn it off.
4. Change the Default SSID Name
The server set identifier (SSID) will appear as the default name for the network when you first start using your new router. An example of a default name would be “NETWGEAR153.”
By leaving the default name, you’re essentially telling everyone in the area the make and model of your router. Someone with strong motivations could easily look up the default password to the admin account of your router just with this small amount of information.
So give your network a name. And have fun with it. We’ve even added this list of great network names if you’re in need of some inspiration.
5. Hide Your SSID
You can also hide the name of your wireless network so that it doesn’t show up when people do a basic network search. Do keep in mind that snoopers can still detect wireless signals in a given area, so it’s not a full proof security measure.
If you do decide to hide your SSID, you’ll have to manually type in the name when you want to connect a device to the network.
6. Device Lists
Most routers will show you a list of the devices connected to your network. It’s a good idea to periodically check to make sure that nothing seems out of place. A good IT support company should also be able to set you up with a cloud and mobile app that alerts you when a device connects to the network. This way you’ll be able to keep a close eye on who and what devices are using your network.
7. Keep Your Firmware Up to Date
Vendors will periodically release new firmware for their products to patch security holes and other things. Sometimes you’ll have to go to the vendor’s website to download the update, but most routers nowadays allow you to make updates in the interface and will even notify you that an update is available. Just remember, an updated router means a safer network.
8. Enable MAC Address Filtering
Filtering media access control (MAC) addresses allows you to permit or deny access to your wireless network based on the specific device that is trying to be connected. For stronger network security, it’s good practice to only allow the devices in your office to have access to your network.
To allow only your devices onto your network, you need to enter the MAC address for each client manually. You should be able to find the MAC addresses of your various devices on the list of connected devices mentioned in number 6.
9. Use Firewall Settings and WAN Protection
Most routers a have built-in firewall or WAN protection to safeguard it from online threats. Dual-band routers tend to have more advanced firewall and security features. For routers that are not as high-end, you can still use a third-party, open-sourced software to add advanced functionality.
The advanced firewall settings can get complicated, so having a professional IT technician set up your network security is a good idea. PerformanceIT offers an extensive list of security services to help keep your network safe.
For additional network security tips, see our 8 Ways to Instantly Make Your Computer More Secure as well as our 9 Must-Follow Email Security Tips.