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How to secure your router

Not many people think about their home network security until it’s too late. It’s enough to leave your home network unprotected and let anyone in range gain access to it.

Before we begin protecting our network we have to say that you will have to login to your router to make all the changes. And additionally, make sure to make these changes via Ethernet connection. Making changes while connected wirelessly can lead to specific problems because you may get logged off the router once you save those changes.

NOTE: The steps described below are general since the settings in all routers are somewhat the same; the difference is in the built-in software and the menus.  However, if you get stuck somewhere please refer to your user manual or search the router manufacturer’s official site.

Set up a wireless password

When you try to connect to your network using a tablet, mobile phone or any other device and you aren’t required to enter a password (network key or passphrase) it means your network is open. And this is the first thing you have to take care of.

The image below show some examples of various routers using 192.168.0.1 as a default IP address.

wireless security settings

While you are setting up a wireless password it is a good moment to select the best encryption method. WPA or WPA2-PSK is the most recommended.  In some cases you may be required to use WEP encryption. Although it is much less secure than WPA and WPA2, it is still better to use it than leaving your router unprotected.

Now, when you want to connect a device to your wireless network you will be asked to enter a password.

Change the default router password

Every device connected to your wireless network is allowed to access the router settings with the correct router login details. And here is the second thing you have to change in order to add an extra layer of security to your home network. You have to change the default router password.

To make things clear this isn’t the wireless password. This is the password which allows you to access the router settings and modify them as needed. The problem here is that most routers come with default SSID (Network Name) and password. So if someone already knows your router brand, it is not that difficult to find the default router username and password. And when someone gains access to your router settings, that person might easily change your settings, including your wireless password.

Turn off remote administration

Having this option enabled is a potential security risk because anyone who is connected to your wireless network can access your router settings using the default IP, username and password (in case you haven’t changed them). When you disable this option the router settings page can ony be accessed from a device connected to the router using a network cable.

Change the default Network name (SSID)

Some routers come with a predefined Network name or SSID. In most cases it’s the router brand like Netgear or TP-Link and so on. Since the router brand or model is visible, it is easy to find the default IP and login details. If the network is open, it would be easy to access the router admin page and this is certainly something we don’t want to happen. Therefore, set up a cool Network name and you can feel a bit safer.

Enable the router firewall

Most routers today come with a built-in firewall. In case you have such router, make sure to have this option enabled.

Disable SSID broadcast

Having this option disabled may seem like a good idea when it comes to securing your home network.  However, it will be a bit difficult to find your home network when you want to connect a new device, i.e. you will have to enter your SSID manually. Therefore we will leave it you you to choose whether to have SSID broadcast enabled or disabled.

Enable wireless MAC filtering

MAC filtering is a handy option if you decide to use it. Since every wireless device has its own MAC address, this option will allow only devices with approved MAC addresses to connect to your network. Although it makes connecting new devices to your network more complicated, it is indeed an extra security measure.

Final Words

All the security steps mentioned above will make your personal wireless network much more secured. And the best part is even a beginner can easily perform all the router modifications. So, now login to your router and start tweaking your home network security. Feel free to explore all the settings needed to boost your home network security. If something goes wrong you can always reset your router to factory settings.

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