Using Wi-Fi networks to get online is more easier than ever, but it’s critical to understand the dangers of what happens when you push the connect button. Whether you’re setting up your network at home or at work, it’s critical that you take the proper procedures to ensure that you and anybody else who will be accessing your Wi-Fi are safe.
The first step is to encrypt the router, which is a basic but sometimes forgotten procedure. There are a few things you should be aware of, so let’s look at what you need to do to get up and running safely.
What is router encryption?
When you try to connect to the internet over a Wi-Fi network, you’ll usually be asked to enter a password. Router encryption fundamentally ensures that the Wi-Fi network is safe and that only authorised users can connect. When it comes to router encryption, you’ll need to choose a few critical settings and that all-important password right away.
Why do I need an encrypted Wi-Fi router?
You may safeguard your network from unauthorised access by encrypting your router. It will aid in the protection of your data and the prevention of network hacking, which exposes your data to a variety of hazards. This is critical for your data’s privacy, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive documents or cooperating with others on a broader network.
Your router encryption key (aka your password)
The router encryption key adds another layer of security to your Wi-Fi network. This key, which is usually a long sequence of numbers, can be found on the bottom of your router or on the router configuration page when you first log in. This is, in a nutshell, your password!
It’s critical to modify your router’s default password to something unique or even remembered just to you. Your password may also be referred to as a Wi-Fi Security Key or a WEP / WPA Key, depending on your router. Changing your password to a strong and complicated combination of numbers and letters adds an extra layer of security to your network, giving you piece of mind that it’s as safe as you can make it.
What settings should I use?
When it comes to setting up your Wi-Fi network security mode, avoid creating an open network. This means anyone will be able to use it and it leaves your systems vulnerable to attack. If your network is open, anyone else near you can download your documents or personal photos, or potentially access your credit card information and logins for other websites.
Wired Encryption Protocol (or WEP) is easy to configure and widely supported, however it’s an outdated and somewhat obsolete form of Wi-Fi network security. Steer clear of selecting this option as it’s extremely risky and there are other options that are more secure.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (or WPS) makes connecting your devices to your Wi-Fi network easier and faster, especially if you’re a little intimidated by all the setting options. It’s typically a small button on the back of your router that you can push to help you connect to Wi-Fi. However, it’s not the most secure option and only works if you’ve set up your password already.
WPA2 and WPA3
This is the standard encryption for almost all commercially available routers. Originally called Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), the most recent update is the most secure and it’s called WPA3. On your router settings, if WPA3-PSK (Pre-Shared Key) is available, select this one, otherwise WPA2-PSK will be adequate. Selecting WPA2 or WPA3 with a strong and unique password is the best option for your router settings to make your network more secure than if you chose to use WEP or WPS.
Tips to protect your Wi-FI network at home
Because you’re probably working from home more these days, it’s crucial to pay attention to your Wi-Fi network and make sure it’s especially safe. Here are a few extra pointers to help you get started.
Turn off your Wi-Fi when you're away.
It’s a good idea to turn off your router if you’re going to be away from home for more than a day. Not only will you save money on your electricity bill, but you’ll also eliminate any risk of a security breach while you’re away.
Place your router close to the middle of your house
This provides equal range to all of your home’s rooms while also keeping the range closer to your home. This means that outsiders will have a harder time accessing and using your network.
Keep your router's software up to date.
Make sure your router’s software is up to date on a regular basis to maintain it safe and secure. Because many routers don’t have an auto-update capability, you’ll probably have to do it manually, but it’s something to keep track of and do on a frequent basis for the safety of your Wi-Fi network.