Security starts at home. Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity – Wireless Network) has made it so easy for anyone to use Internet on laptops, smartphones, tablets and other IoT wireless devices anywhere in the house without the laying of LAN cables.
However, if the Wi-Fi is unmonitored and is an unregulated network, cybercriminals can exploit poor Wi-fi security measures and “listen” to your traffic in order to retrieve sensitive information or take advantage of your network to launch malicious attacks such as Man-in-the-Middle attacks, network sniffing or even data theft.
Easy ways to identify if your Wi-Fi is either hacked or shared:-
There will be an increase in monthly Internet bills, especially when you are on pay per use model
Internet speed will fall, since the same internet connection is being used by unknown persons
Check the number of people or devices connected to your network on your router
Separate Connections for IoT Devices:-
Every household has smart TVs, smart fridges, Alexa and Google Home and a host of IoT devices. The more IoT devices, the more endpoints, and the greater the number of potential entryways for hackers. In many cases, IoT devices have a poor security track record. It is suggested that you have a dedicated router and connection for IoT devices if you are able to afford it.
Thus, you can eliminate risks of poorly secured IoT devices acting as an opening for your main network. If someone hacks the IoT network, all they’ll find are other IoT devices, and won’t be able to work their way onto your laptops or phones.
Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network):-
A VPN is a network that allows you to communicate over an unsecured network in a private network mode. In a VPN, hackers will not know what you are doing online and where you are located. A VPN will change your IP address, making it appear that you are using your computer from a location other than your home address.
Most of the latest routers have inbuilt VPN option. So when you buy a router, (a) Get one with VPN Capabilities or (b) one that supports DD WRT (c) allows other third party firmware
Tips to improve Wi-Fi security at home:-
* Change Router Password – The first thing you should do is to change the default username and password. Everyone knows that the default username and password of any router is “admin”. Make sure passwords are strong and unique (Use capitals/numeric & special characters). Change the passwords once in 2-3 months.
* Default IP address – It’s highly recommended that you change the default IP address on your router. Remember your new IP Address, you’ll need to type it into the web browser to connect to the router.
* Change Network’s Name – The SSID (Wireless Network Name) of your Wireless Router is usually pre-defined to its “Routers Make and Model Number”. Please don’t use your surname, pet’s name, or other personal information in the Wireless Network name.
* Activating network encryption – The most secure type of encryption for your home Wi-Fi network is WPA2. Older devices may not be compatible with WPA2, so it is suggested to upgrade your home devices for enhanced security.
* Guest Network – Enable guest logins for visitors or relatives who come home.
* Router On/Off – Turn off the wireless home network when you’re not at home for extended durations.
* MAC address filtering – Your router will have an option “MAC address filtering”. This will allow only approved devices on your network.
* DHCP Functionality – Instead of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), use a static address and enter your network settings. Please check with service provider for static IP.
* Remote Access – Most latest routers allow remote systems. Turn off remote access as malicious actors can access your router’s settings from a device not connected to your wireless network.
* Hide your network – SSID hiding enables you to hide your network name. Employees working from home and working on critical financial, medical, tech and defence data are recommended to use this option of hiding the SSID, which will indirectly help in your home Wi-Fi not getting compromised.
* Router firmware – The router’s firmware can contain vulnerabilities if not upgraded on a regular basis as the regular updates may contain security patches. Most routers won’t have the option of an auto-update so you’ll need to manually update the software to ensure your home Wi-Fi network is protected.
Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column for more on internet ethics and digital wellness brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.