When setting up a new router, it’s important to consider more than just the internet speed provided by your service provider. Security is a crucial aspect to safeguard your devices and protect your privacy. If you have never made any adjustments to the default settings, now is the perfect time to make these changes on your device. It’s not that the factory settings are inherently insecure, but there are certain options that are better off modified to enhance security.
Neglecting the router configuration can be a mistake, or it can have the opposite effect. If any settings have been improperly configured, your home network could be at risk. Therefore, it is advisable to make these changes within the router’s menu to enhance the security of your connection and your devices.
Goodbye WAN admin access
To begin with, it’s important to understand that WAN stands for “Wide Area Network.” In simpler terms, it refers to a network that covers a wide geographical area. When it comes to router configuration, the WAN administrator has the capability to access the router remotely. This feature is commonly used by service providers when troubleshooting issues with your home broadband connection. However, if you have no intention of using this remote access feature, it is advisable to disable it. By doing so, you can prevent unauthorized access and ensure the security of your network.
Disable WPS, uPnP and NAT-PMP
Now let’s move on to the second change for your home network. One example is the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) system, which is available on some routers. It allows you to connect to the Wi-Fi network without entering the network password, instead using an 8-digit PIN code. While it can be convenient if you don’t know the password, it also presents a potential vulnerability to cyberattacks. Therefore, it is recommended to disable this feature to enhance the security of your network.
Additionally, there are two protocols called uPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and NAT-PMP (Network Address Translation-Port Mapping Protocol). These protocols automatically open ports on your router, ensuring seamless connectivity for devices connected to it. While this is beneficial for online gaming consoles, it also makes it easier for someone with malicious intent to gain access to your network.
Use WPA2 or WPA3
Another important setting to consider is the encryption method used for your Wi-Fi connection. It is crucial to avoid using WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption as it is outdated and vulnerable to security breaches. The most widely used and secure encryption standard today is WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). However, there is also a newer encryption standard called WPA3, which offers enhanced security features. It is worth noting that not all devices support WPA3, so it may limit the compatibility of certain devices with your network. Therefore, it is recommended to choose WPA2 encryption unless you have specific compatibility requirements for WPA3.
Change the WiFi password and name
Another important change to consider is modifying the default WiFi name (SSID) and password of your router. The default settings are often easily guessable or known, making your network vulnerable to unauthorized access. It is crucial to choose a strong and unique password for both your wireless network and router administration. Avoid using easily guessable information such as your name, router model, or any personal details. Opt for a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols to enhance the security of your network.
Changing the default SSID is also recommended for security reasons. The SSID is the name that identifies your network to other devices. By customizing it, you can avoid giving away any information about your network or router model. It is advisable to choose a unique and nondescriptive name that does not reveal any sensitive details.
Remember, it is important to use different passwords for your WiFi network and router administration to minimize the risk of unauthorized access. Regularly changing these passwords and keeping them strong will help protect your network and personal information.
Lastly, it is crucial to prioritize the security of your computer by keeping it updated. Enabling automatic firmware updates is highly recommended to ensure that you consistently receive the latest security patches from the manufacturer. Some routers provided by your internet service provider may already have this option enabled by default. However, if it is not the case for your router, you can access its settings and check if there is a firmware update available. These updates are essential as they address any security vulnerabilities that may have been identified in your device. By installing the latest firmware version, you effectively fix any potential security flaws and enhance the overall security of your home network.