With new data breaches popping up in the news on a regular basis, it’s no secret that there are people exploiting network vulnerabilities when they find them. Large companies and credit card processors aren’t the only hot targets for hackers — if your home Wi-Fi isn’t properly secured, prying eyes could be capturing your sensitive information.
Tightening Up Security
Thankfully, home wireless network security has improved dramatically over recent years. Advances in technology have made it tougher for hackers to access your network, but it boils down to what you’re using and how you’re using it. You can mitigate some security risk by keeping your device’s firmware up to date and swapping out device default settings such as your wireless network’s name (SSID) so they don’t reflect your location or router type (for example, some routers will default to broadcasting the manufacturer’s name if left to factory settings).
Put Your Password On Steroids
An unsecured network can leave you exposed, but a poorly secured network isn’t much better. Default router passwords are extremely easy for hackers to break, and WEP security settings have many exploitable weaknesses. By switching your device’s security mode to WPA2 and choosing a long password with a combination of capital letters, special characters, and numbers, you can put up a better shield to protect yourself from Wi-Fi hackers.
Security For Advanced Users
Beyond your router’s basic settings, there are a few additional changes you can make to further secure your network. Some things, such as replacing your router’s factory firmware with an open-source alternative, are not for the novice user, and not advisable if you’re unfamiliar with the more technical aspects of wireless networking. However, some advanced settings such as filtering MAC addresses and disabling UPnP (as outlined in this Lifehacker article) may offer an additional layer of security to your Wi-Fi network.
For more information on how to keep your home Wi-Fi network secure, check out this McAfee guide to wireless security.