HOW TO ENSURE YOUR WI-FI IS PRIVATE AND BLOCKING HACKERS

Using public Wi-Fi isn't unlike having a conversation in a public place: Others can overhear you. If you don't take precautions, information your devices send over a public Wi-Fi network goes out in clear text, and anyone else on the network could easily take a look at what you're doing with just a few simple software tools.

Wifi routers are some of the most trusted devices in our households. We trust our routers with the majority of our personal information. However, someone spying could easily pick up your passwords or other private information. If you use the same password on multiple sites, that could be a big problem. This is the biggest concern with public hotspots.

Hackers can also plant illegal things or viruses on your networks if they have access.

There are ten things that you should do right now to keep your devices safe from hackers. By keeping your router and network secure, you can ensure the safety of your devices from a wifi hack.

 

Keep your connection secure.

Make sure to connect to websites via HTTPS, which encrypts anything you send and receive from the website. While a VPN service encrypts everything you send, HTTPS ensures that communication to and from a particular website is secure. To verify if you're connected via HTTPS, look at the address bar of your browser window; you should see "HTTPS" at the beginning of the web address (or, on some web browsers, a lock icon). Looking for HTTPS isn't enough, though. It's always better to type the URL in yourself versus clicking on a link you receive in an email. 

 

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords also tend to contain a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. This makes it harder for hackers to crack your password and your network.

 

Purge networks you don’t need from your preferred network list. 

The Preferred Network List, or PNL, is a list of Wi-Fi network names your device automatically trusts. This list is created from the networks you connect to over time, however networks name, but it can’t distinguish between networks that share the same name and type of security. That means that after connecting to a Starbucks Wi-Fi network a single time, your device will remember and connect automatically to any open network with the same name.

 

Check for rogue Wi-Fi access points:

 Rogue access points present a huge security risk. These aren't your company's "official" Wi-Fi access points, but ones that have been brought in by employees or conceivably by hackers who have entered your building and surreptitiously connected one to an Ethernet point and hidden it.

 

Use a VPN

If you use a VPN service, anyone trying to steal your data will see only encrypted data, even if you're connecting to sites using HTTP. There are many services that can do this. VPN services charge a fee for their use, with pay packages ranging from day passes to year-round protection. Keep in mind that services like Netflix may not let you connect if you're using a VPN service.

 

Use two-factor authentication 

Whenever you can, use two-factor authentication, which requires both a password and a secondary code that changes regularly for websites. This makes it very difficult for hackers to get at your accounts because even if they can get your password, they won't have the secondary code. Though not all services support it, many popular sites offer this level of security, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.

 

Know your network 

Before you connect, be sure you know whose network you're connecting to so you don't fall prey to Wi-Fi honeypots. If you're not sure what the public network at a business is called, ask an employee before connecting. And check to make sure your computer or smartphone is not set up to automatically connect to unknown Wi-Fi networks or set it to ask you before connecting, so you're sure you know what you're connecting to when you connect.

 

Enable MAC authentication for your users:

 Each wireless device will have a unique serial number known as a MAC address. MAC authentication only allows access to the network from a set of addresses defined by the administrator.

 

Choose WPA2

WPA is a security certification program. WPA2 is the most secure version, and it is highly recommended over other programs. Choosing WPA2 can help protect your network.

 

Change your default IP address on the Wireless router

Changing the default IP address to a less common one is another thing you should consider doing better to secure your home network and make it more difficult for hackers to track it.

 

Firewalls, guest networks, notifications

Firewalls should be turned on. Guest networks can be used to separate business and personal information, making it harder for hackers to get to both.

Hackers can access any of your information, as well as destroy it. They can also distribute malware throughout your devices. By taking simple steps to ensure your safety, it becomes much harder for hackers to access your information through a wifi hack, let alone use it to harm you.

 

Disable auto-connect when joining networks 

One disadvantage of purging your preferred network list is that any network you connect to will require you to enter the password manually every time you want to connect. This can get annoying for networks you connect to too often and also requires you to clean your PNL after every time you join a new network. For password-protected Wi-Fi networks you join frequently, there’s a solution to save the password while reducing the risk of your device automatically connecting to malicious networks using the same name.

To do this, make sure to check the “disable auto-connect” checkbox when first connecting to a network. This will prevent your device from attempting to connect to a network that matches the name and security type of the one you’re joining.

While you’ll still have to click the network’s name each time you want to join it, you won’t have to type in your password. So at the cost of a single click, you can avoid your device leaking the name of networks you’ve connected to before.

 

Secure Firewalls 

When trying to access the home devices like switches, plugs from outside the home network, making sure of right firewalls are installed and only authorized users/devices can get into the smart home network will help in reducing the front door intruders. In addition, firewalls help in blocking most of the network unless authorized.

 

Reduce Your Wi-Fi Range 

Understandably, most people would rather extend the range of their Wi-Fi network than reduce it, but, sometimes, it makes sense to limit the range to a small area. If you’re, for example, living in a small apartment, there’s no reason to broadcast your Wi-Fi across the entire block, giving more people than necessary the opportunity to hack it.

 

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