Five Key Tips to Maximize Your Wireless Network Security

If your Internet bill has recently gone up, or if download speeds have significantly decreased during the last few months, your Wi-Fi network may have been compromised. Somebody may have discovered your Wi-Fi password, and is now making use of your private home network, accessing the Internet and maybe even getting access to your private files, family photos, and so on.

Fortunately, there are several simple steps that you can take to protect your network. Here are some quick, easy to follow methods that will keep 99% of the hackers at bay.

1. Don’t use default passwords

Change the default router user name and password. Most routers come with predefined user names and passwords, and hackers will always try to break into your Wi-Fi network by making use of them. So the first logical step is to change the user name. Pick a name that includes letters and numbers and it’s not that easy to guess. Try something like letmein4, for example.

Then, choose a password that’s as long and strong as possible, preferably above 20 characters. Some routers will limit its length to about 15 characters, which is good enough if you can also include special characters in your password. There are several websites that will generate a strong password for you.

strong-password-generator

2. Choose the proper Wi-Fi encryption protocol

If your Wi-Fi network makes use of the ancient WEP protocol, it can be easily broken by a kid using his smartphone. The best encryption technology that exists today is WPA2, so be sure to make use of it.

3. Set strong Wi-Fi passwords

Don’t forget to change the password of your Wi-Fi network as well. Upgrade the existing password to one that includes capital letters, small letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t worry about remembering this complex password, because you will only use it when you want to add a new device to your network, and this will probably happen once or twice per year. It’s enough to have the password written down in a notebook.

4. Replace the router antennas

Buy one or more directional antennas for your router, or make one. Most routers have 1…3 omnidirectional antennas, which emit Wi-Fi signal in every direction. If you think that one of your neighbors may try to hack your Wi-Fi network, it may be better to replace the standard router antennas with one or more directional antennas.

use-a-directional-antenna

Unscrew the existing antennas, and then plug-in the new ones using an extension cable. Then, orient the antennas towards the device that needs the strongest Wi-Fi signal. This way, the signal will be concentrated towards that device, and its intensity will significantly decrease for the devices that aren’t located near it – your evil neighbor’s devices.

5. Enable MAC address filtering

Each piece of Wi-Fi equipment has a unique serial, and you can set up your router in such a way that it will refuse connections from other devices, which have different MAC addresses. You can find out the MAC address easily – here’s an article that teaches you how to do that. Some hackers may be able to clone one of your MAC addresses, but this is an extra layer of security that will help keep most of them at bay.

read more