Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How To Make Your Home WIFI Router More Secure

Almost everyone who uses the Internet, from Home, has some type of WIFI router. In fact, if you have a Broadband Internet connection you should be using a router rather than connecting your computer to a cable or DSL modem, directly. A router provides a basic level of security by placing a barrier between you and the open Internet. WIFI routers are ubiquitous and they have become a commodity item. They are generally cheap and manufactures rarely bother upgrading the firmware to keep them safe and secure. After a few years they expect the user to just purchase a new one. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. How old is your router? How secure is it? Do you login to secure websites (Banks, Retail, etc.)? Have your login credentials been compromised? Here are a few tips that will help in securing your router and ultimately your privacy, security and identity.


  1. All home routers are slightly different. You should know how to login to the Web based Interface (from a browser) to check the settings in the router. Most routers have default credentials that the manufacture uses for accessing the interface. You generally have to enter a numerical IP address into your browser (ex. and enter a username and password. If you don't know the IP address or credentials for your router you can find the defaults on the manufacturers website. Of course if you or someone else setup your router, the credentials could have been changed.
  2. Once you login to the router you will see a somewhat bewildering array of information, but you won't have to worry about most of it. When you make a change you will have to save the setting each time.
  3. Change the name of you router. If it has the manufactures name ( ex. Linksys) call it something else.
  4. Change the administrative password - the one that you logged in with. When you do this you will have login again with the new password.
  5. Change the Wifi SSID name. Keep in mind that when you do this you will need to re-login to Wifi on all of your wireless computers and devices.
  6. If most of your wifi computers and devices are fairly new, you should be using WPA2 for your security setting in WIFI. Your password for Wifi should be a good one. 12 or more characters (letters, numbers, symbols, upper and lowercase). Again, if you change your password here you will also have to change it on all of your wireless computers and devices.
  7. Look for and turn off WPS (Wifi protected setup) - this protocol is inherently insecure.
  8. Look for and turn off UPnP, unless you specifically know that you need it. In most cases you don't.
  9. Look for Remote Management and make sure it is turned off.
  10. If your router has a guest Network - turn it off unless you need it. If so, make sure it has a good password.
  11. Do not use Cloud Based router management.
  12. Update the firmware on your router. This is a little more involved, but not too complex and it will provide you with the latest security patches. You will need to check your routers Status tab to find the version number of your present firmware. You will also need to know the model number and version of your router - routers with the same model number come in different versions. Armed with this info you can go to the manufactures website and download an UPDATED firmware - if there is one. Make sure the firmware matches your router, exactly. Once this is downloaded, return to the Router setup interface, find the update firmware section, and it will allow you to upload the new firmware to your router. The update process takes as much as 5 minutes and then the router will reboot. You can then login and see if you have the new version.
  13. If your router is 4 or 5 years old, it is time to purchase a new one and run through the items above.