So, you want to know more about how to secure your wi-fi network.
You have taken a responsible first step toward keeping yourself and your business safe from cybercriminals.
In the modern era technology is evolving faster than anyone can keep up with and that means crime is also evolving just as fast.
Incidents of cybercrime are bound to keep increasing and that is why it is important to take measures to keep yourself safe.
Your wi-fi is something that expands outside of your house and outside of your business which can give people an opportunity to get into your network and gain access to sensitive data.
Lucky for you there are a few easy steps you can take to protect yourself from such a thing.
This article is going to cover how you can secure your wi-fi network(s).
- How to better secure your wi-fi network(s)
- Importance of Wi-Pi Protection
- Using Better Encryption
- Securing Your Router
- Making Your Network Disappear
- Using a Firewall
- Using a VPN
Importance of Wi-Fi Protection
Before we discuss how to encrypt your wi-fi, let’s briefly examine why this is necessary.
In America, cybercrime is defined as a crime in which a computer system is targeted.
The attack can occur in a wide range of ways.
For example, you might be targeted by a phishing email or have had your network hacked.
Regardless of how the hack occurs, the consequences of being the target of a cybercrime can be devastating.
We can split those affected by cybercrime into two types of categories; individual citizens and businesses.
Let’s start by looking at how individuals can be affected by cybercrime.
With individuals increasingly incorporating technology into their lives they are potentially exposing themselves to a cyber-attack, where they can have personal information exploited.
A famous example of this was when celebrities had their personal accounts hacked.
This resulted in a hacker group releasing many compromising photos onto the internet.
Sadly, this problem isn’t limited to celebrities, if hackers are able to infiltrate your wi-fi they can steal your private information and may even be able to turn on your webcam remotely.
As you can imagine, finding out you’ve been the victim of this kind of hack can be devastating and may even cause some people to develop mental health issues like depression.
Now that we have a greater understanding of how cyber-attacks can affect individuals, let’s have a look at how businesses may be affected.
Businesses are frequently moving online, storing more information in databases and relying more on technology.
This can leave them vulnerable to online cyber-attacks.
In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics surveyed businesses in 2005 and found that over 67% of them had reported detecting at least one cybercrime.
They also found that businesses were likely to be a repeated target of hackers.
One of the most popular cybercrimes that businesses suffer is a ransomware attack.
This occurs when a hacker disables something, such as the ability to access a database, and makes the company pay to have access restored.
Because the payment is usually made in a virtual currency, like Bitcoin, the crime is virtually untraceable.
This can be very expensive, with the study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics finding that 68% of people targeted for a cyber theft attack lost over $10,000 after the attack.
Approximately 68% of the victims of cyber theft sustained monetary loss of $10,000 or more.Bureau of Justice Statistics
However, there is some good news.
The study also found that if businesses had an accurate way of detecting and defending themselves from cyber-attacks, they were better protected from attacks.
In fact, 34% of businesses who detected cyber attacks lost less than $10,000.
This shows how important having strong wi-fi protection is to businesses.
As we’ve discussed, if hackers can access your network they will be able to exploit this information and could potentially cost you a lot of money.
That’s why protecting your wi-fi network is so important.
One of the best ways to protect this network is through using better encryption.
Using Better Encryption
This one is kind of a no-brainer and is easy to do.
Make sure that your network is password protected and that only those that need to know the password know the password.
If this is a home network, make sure that you and your family know the password and do not share it with anyone else.
Set up a guest wi-fi when you have guests over and have them connect to that instead of the primary home network.
If you are trying to protect your business network then make sure that every time an employee leaves your company, whether they are fired or not, that you change the network password.
Use a more secure password.
Do not be one of the lazy unfortunate souls who change their password to password123 and expect nobody to figure that out.
Your password needs to be long and a random collection of letters, numbers and symbols when allowed.
DO NOT leave your routers default password in place. Change it as soon as you can.
A great way to test if your password is strong enough is to use a service called CloudCracker.
This service attempts to crack your password and if it can then that means a hacker can definitely do the same thing.
If CloudCracker gets your password that is a good indicator that you need to change it to something stronger immediately.
Securing Your Router
Your router is your first line of defense from cyber-attacks.
Whether you are leasing a router from your internet service provider or if you’ve bought your own, the first thing you need to do is change the name of your router.
All routers come with a default name.
Your router will also come with a default password and as I said in the last section you need to change this password immediately.
Every couple of months check and make sure that your router has the most up to date version of the software.
It is probably a good idea to register the router with the manufacturer and sign up for notifications so that you get an email every time a software update is available.
Once a company moves on to a new version of software the old version because much easier to hack into.
Making Your Network Disappear
This one is simple and easy as well.
Anyone can change their SSID to hidden so that nobody can see your network.
The people who know the username and password can still login, but it won’t appear on the general list of wi-fi networks that everyone can see if they are in the area.
This definitely isn’t foolproof as someone who knows what their doing can still easily find your network, but it is still a layer of encryption worth having.
This can definitely deter novice hackers from breaking into your network.
Using a Firewall
Firewalls come in two different forms: software and hardware.
A firewall is used to monitor data going through a certain point and stop something if it looks suspicious.
A good way to picture a firewall is to imagine a wall that protects your home or business network.
That wall has a gate that only lets through trusted data and turns away anything that appears suspect.
Most routers come with a built-in firewall which monitors all data that goes through it.
Software firewalls are generally installed to a desktop or PC.
Using a VPN or Virtual Private Network
In layman’s terms a virtual private network (VPN) is essentially a tunnel between two devices that lets you access the internet in a way that nobody can monitor what you’re doing.
When using a VPN your IP address is replace with that of the VPN provider and that IP address could show any location across the globe.
This is a pretty cool service and definitely worth looking into to better protect your home or business network.
Benefits of Using a VPN
- Hides your IP address
- Changes your IP address to one in a different location
- Encrypts your data transfers
- Hides your location
- Allows you to access websites blocked by governments
Selecting A VPN Provider
Setting up a VPN is quite simple once you select your VPN provider.
As with many other products, free does not always equal better when you’re talking about a VPN.
It is highly recommended that you go with a paid service over a free one when selecting a VPN provider as you will definitely get what you pay for.
Shop around and do your due diligence before selecting one.
Tie all of these steps together and your home or business network will be much safer from cyber-attacks.
Even just taking a few of these measures will make a big difference, but remember the more layers of protection you have the better off you will be.