If you’re not careful, hackers can compromise your home network, and take over all devices connected to it. Here are 5 things you can do to prevent that.
Home WiFi has made life so much better.
But if you want to enjoy all the perks it offers, you need to secure your network first.
Here’s How to Make Your Home WiFi Safer in five Easy Steps
Here are the most efficient things you can try out:
1. Change the Router’s SSID
If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically the network’s name. So, for example, “my network” would be an SSID.
If you don’t change it, it will normally be one of two things by default:
- If you got it from the manufacturer, it’s gonna be the name of the router’s brand or model.
- If you got the router from your ISP, it’s likely gonna be their name.
Most people don’t have a problem with either of those network names.
But if you value your privacy, you should change them ASAP.
Well, let’s take the manufacturer name for starters:
A cybercriminal could see the name, google it, find the router’s manual in a PDF format, and read it to find out what its default username and password are.
With that info, they can easily hack your router in seconds.
And if your network’s SSID reveals your ISP’s name, a hacker who really has it out for you could track them down, and target them with phishing and vishing attacks to cause a data leak. Or, they could target them with DoS/DDoS attacks instead.
So yeah, definitely change the SSID. Just make sure it’s something vague that doesn’t give out any personal info – like your name, street address, or apartment number. Keep it simple with random strings of numbers, letters, and symbols.
Oh, and be sure to change the default username and password too while you’re at it.
2. Get a VPN Router
A VPN is an online service that protects your data and traffic by encrypting them. Essentially, it makes it impossible for anyone to spy on what you do on the web.
VPNs also protect your privacy by masking your IP address. That stops anyone from locating your network, and finding out personal stuff about you, like:
- What country and city you live in.
- What your ZIP code is.
- Who your ISP is.
Well, a VPN router is a router that already comes with a VPN installed on it. Every device that uses it to access the web will use an encrypted VPN connection to do so. That’s a great way to save time and effort since you won’t need to install VPN software separately on all your devices.
Still, why get a VPN router when you can just set up a VPN on your router instead?
It’s much cheaper, after all.
That’s true, and by all means, feel free to do that if you want to.
But if you’re not very tech-savvy, setting up a VPN connection on your router can be pretty difficult. And even the tiniest mistake can compromise your security.
So if you don’t mind a heftier price for better convenience and security, go with a VPN router. If you don’t know where to start, take your pick from these VPN routers – the info is very useful, and will really help you make a smart decision.
3. Equip Your Router with Security Software
Not many people know this, but malware doesn’t just infect your devices. It can also compromise your router.
Take VPNFilter, for example. It actually managed to infect nearly half a million routers worldwide, making it possible for hackers to do stuff like targeting devices connected to the router, and using HTTPS-downgrading attacks.
Nice, but don’t relax just yet. You should also install antivirus/antimalware software on your router. Alternatively, you can just get a hardware solution.
4. Turn UPnP Off
UPnP is pretty useful. It lets your router communicate with the manufacturer’s website so that it can get updates.
That and it’s also the protocol that makes it possible for smart devices to offer “smart” features by communicating with the web.
So why exactly should you turn it off?
Pretty simple – because it’s not safe at all.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
- Hackers have actually managed to use UPnP to infect devices with malware.
- Cybercriminals managed to use UPnP to force around 65,000 routers to proxy traffic for a botnet.
To make sure your router is updated, and that your smart devices work as intended, though, you should only turn off UPnP after you have everything properly configured. If you need updates, just turn it on, let your router update itself, and turn it off again.
How you disable it will vary from router to router, so check your manual or the admin settings to see what you need to do.
5. Check Port 32764
This little port can actually act as a backdoor, giving hackers access to your router.
A patch was released, true, but it didn’t do much – the backdoor is still there, just a bit more “difficult” to access.
To make sure everything is okay, check this list of routers that have issues with this port.
Or just use this link to see if the port is open.
If it is, well, there isn’t anything you can install or do on the spot to fix it. You’ll have to talk about it with your router supplier ASAP, and ask them to offer a fix – like a patch. If they can’t do that, I’m sorry to say but you’ll have to find a much better router and supplier.