Wireless networks are becoming increasingly more common in our daily life and most of us will conquer to this basic idea of living. It resides in our home,workplace and free Wi-Fi Zones.
A prime example would be a hacker using your Wi-Fi connection to send illegal emails to a victim or stealing bank credit card details. The FBI will soon knock on your door and take proper actions towards the illegal activities done trough your wireless connection.
There are also many other risks, including malicious file uploads on your computer to steal all your credentials and install malware to slow your computer down. There are endless ways, hackers can affect your computer without your clue.
Not securing your Wi-Fi network also means sharing your bandwidth with other users around your Wi-Fi zone and that in turn can increase your monthly bill.
Securing Your Wireless Home Network
But, there is a way to protect your computer from Wi-Fi hacks by completing few steps which we are going to discuss below.
1. Get to your router settings page
In the first step, you need to go to the router settings page. There are two ways to know the router’s address. The easiest way is to grab the router’s manual and search for the router’s address there. And the second step is to use the command prompt to find out the address.
For Windows platform:
- Go to Start and type “cmd” in the Run command. Press Enter to proceed.
- After the command prompt opens, keyword the term, “ipconfig/all”. Again, press Enter to proceed.
- The screen will now populate with information. Look for the term, “Gateway” and note down the corresponding 8 digit number separated by dots. For example, “192.168.1.1” or “192.168.0.1”. The router’s address depends on the manufacturer.
- Next, open any browser and enter the Gateway IP address into the address bar. Press ‘Enter’ to proceed.
- Cancelling the page will lead you to an error page, please refresh the page to login into your Wi-Fi router backend admin panel.
Note: Ensure that the system from which you are trying to access the admin panel is connected to the Wireless connection through LAN.
The process of finding the Gateway address is similar in MAC. The two things that you need to keep in mind is the fact that Mac uses Utility terminal and takes in “ipconfig -a” command to find out the gateway address.
2. Create a unique router password
Once you login the router backend, change the router password from the default to something that you can remember. The reason for changing the password is to protect hackers to get into the backend of the router settings, because once they do, they can change any settings they want.
Once you change the password, you lock out half of the hackers that try the basic username/password combination, which is generally admin/password.
Note: This step will be different for different routers and you might need to find the right place in your admin settings panel.
It is also advisable to change the username.
3. Changing the Wireless SSID
To reach this step you need to hover over the Wireless tab on the left side of the admin panel and then move to Wireless settings. The path would be Wireless >> Wireless Settings.
Wireless Network name, also known as SSID is the identity the wireless get in an open area. If someone is trying to join your network, he/she must search for the name of your wireless network aka SSID.
So, Why change the SSID name? First, changing name will help you to figure out your own wireless network in the swamp of wireless network present in your locality(no one bothers to change their SSID), and it can deter the advancement of hackers who can guess and enter any weak wireless network by knowing the SSID.
4. Powering On the Network Encryption [the most important step]
This setting sub page can be accessed through Wireless>>Wireless Security.
Encryption is the most important step in protecting Wireless network and without the encryption the network is completely vulnerable.
The Wi-Fi network can be protected by many encryption schemes which include WPA, WEP, and WPA2. Among all of these the weakest of them all is WEP, which can easily be hacked with the help of an automated tool. Other encryption schemes are much stronger and must be used in combination with a strong password.
The idea is to stop brute force attacks and minimize the chances of being hacked. Choosing a higher bit encryption, more than 128 bits. Any password that is a combination of words, letter, spaces and special character will easily prevent any brute force attack on the wireless network.
5. Filtering the MAC address
MAC address the special set of numbers assigned to the machines that we use to connect to the internet. It can be your PC, mobile phone or any portable device that is capable of connecting to the internet.
The problem starts when your MAC address is spoofed and create a clone in the network. As the cloned machine also has the same MAC address, it is easier for the spoofed machine to capture wireless capacity and serve internet with shared bandwidth.
To prevent this, you need to add all the MAC address of the machines that is connected to your Wi-Fi device. The option can be found in the router’s administrative settings.
These types of hacks are also common in computers that are connected in LAN.
Hint: Use “ipconfig/all” in command prompt to find the MAC address of all the connected machines.
The number that responds to the Physical address is the Mac Address. In this case, the physic address is 00-FF-7D-30-4F-17.
6. Reducing the range of Wireless Signal and Upgrading the router’s firmware
The last action that you can take to make your wireless connection secure is to limit the range of your wireless signal so that you can only utilize the Wi-Fi capability and not your neighbors.
To reduce Wireless range, you need to go to Wireless >> Wireless Advanced and change Transmit Power, ranging from high to low.
Also, updating the Router’s firmware can fix bugs and improve the overall security of the device and its connections. Always keep the router up to date.
After following all the above steps, there is no doubt in my mind that your wireless connection is way more secure and robust than before.
ProTip: Regularly change Wi-Fi password every 15 days and instantly change the password after your friend finishes using the network.
Think we missed something? Feel free to comment below.