When it comes to internet security, hackers are always on the ball and security specialists continue to play ‘catch-up’ when it comes to protecting your personal data. Cybercriminals are using more and more innovative ways to hack into wireless broadband networks, with a bid to steal everything from your bank details to other personal information. In some cases it may just be a case of using a considerable amount of your bandwidth, thus saving themselves a large bill at the end of the month.
Now we have all seen the stories on the television where geniuses have hacked into NASA or brought Facebook down, and whilst you may not always be able to protect your PC from everything, there are steps you can take to stop the average Joe Blogs from bypassing your security and using your wireless broadband network.
Change your network key
All routers come with a default password (network key) and whilst the combination of letters and numbers may seem random and therefore secure, that’s not the case. One of the first things a good hacker will learn is as many router passwords as possible. Routers come with a default password, so if you know the default for one, you can often get immediate access. Take the time to change your password as soon as you install your router and whilst you’re at it, don’t use your name, street names, town names, your house number or anything that someone can easily guess, as this just makes their job easier.
Install a good security suite
Whilst this may seem very obvious to most people, there are still many homes that don’t have sufficient security protection on each device. A good anti-virus and firewall is essential to protect your computer should someone bypass your wireless network.
Many routers should have encryption enabled by default; however, it is prudent to check this and if it’s not, enable it via your settings. There are different forms of encryption but WPA2 is probably the most secure and WEP is the easiest to crack.
Disable remote login
First of all, it’s a good idea to change the login name from the general default of ‘admin’ to something else as a hacker or brute force worm/virus can decipher a password easier if you have the default username. Many routers have remote login disabled anyway but not all, as ISPs will use remote services to troubleshoot connection problems. However, if they do need remote access for this purpose, it’s simple to re-enable whilst your ISP does what it has to.
Disable wireless administration
This will mean that in order to connect to your router to carry out admin, you will have to do so using an Ethernet cable, rather than the wireless broadband connection. What it also means is that it’s impossible for any hacker to connect wirelessly and gain access to your router. This is probably one of the safest options.
Securing your wireless connection is very important as we are in an age where many of us store just about every piece of info we need on our computers. However, do remember it’s not just your laptop or PC you want to protect, enabled tablets and games consoles also have an internet connection and can also be hacked so be careful, take the right steps and you will be protected.
Whilst gaining access to your router may seem daunting, the interfaces in them these days are quite straightforward. Don’t play with too many settings if you’re an inexperienced user, but the above are all quite straightforward to carry out and remember to save settings as you go along.
This article about securing your wireless broadband connection was contributed by Kerry Butters from Broadband Genie, the comparison site for comparing UK broadband providers.