It’s hard to imagine but Wi-Fi technology became popular in commercial devices, such as mobiles and laptops, and later on in smartphones as well, just a decade ago. Soon, it became impossible to imagine a device without a Wi-Fi antenna in it.
To put it simply, the internet has helped humans evolve, while Wi-Fi has sped up the process. However, just like with everything that has its pros and cons, this ultimate bliss of technology, which has helped almost every human alive on the planet, has brought forth with it a plethora of problems.
When internet connectivity was restricted to wired connections, it was far difficult for a malicious individual to gain entry into a network. This was because, due to the wired nature, the malicious individual needed to be hardwired into the network some way or another.
However, with the advent of Wi-Fi, and its signals emitting in the vicinity, anyone close by can gain access to your router, see what you are doing online, and even steal your data. To avoid such horrible consequences, it is crucial to ensure that your router’s Wi-Fi security is up to the mark.
How to Check If Your Router Is Vulnerable?
Below is a list of things you should check for on your router to know if your router is vulnerable. Remember, a router that is low on security has high chances of getting attacked and spoofed!
1. Is your Wi-Fi network advertising itself?
There are two kinds of Wi-Fi networks. The first one is the kind you can easily find by scanning available networks on your device. The second one is more of a secret network, as you cannot discover it by scanning for available networks on your device.
Naturally, if your network is out there in the open for everyone to see, chances are that it is more prone to hacks, intrusions, and cyber-attacks. If you are really concerned about the privacy and security of your devices, as well as the security of your Wi-Fi router, you should hide its SSID.
SSID the name of your Wi-Fi router that you see when you scan for available Wi-Fi networks. When the SSID is hidden, connecting to your Wi-Fi router will require one additional authentication step, apart from the usual password. Here is how it is done:
- Choose the option that allows you to connect to a network manually.
- Enter the SSID in the network name field.
- In the security type field choose the type of security used by the wireless network you want to connect to.
- In the security key field, enter the password used by the wireless network.
And it’s done!
Now that no one is able to see your Wi-Fi router, no one would know that your Wi-Fi router exists!
2. Is your Wi-Fi running on default encryption?
Wi-Fi networks support three different types of over-the-air encryption. These are WEP, WPA, and WPA2. All of these encryption protocols secure data only when it is traveling “over-the-air” which is between your device and your router. Once your data leaves your router, the encryption protocols are no longer applicable.
So it has been established that these protocols can only help secure your data moving between your device and router, and not between your router and the internet. Among the three protocols, WPA2 provides the best encryption. This is because it was recently implemented and covers all the bugs and backdoors that were uncovered in the recent times.
By default, most routers provide WPA encryption out-of-the-box. While WPA does what it is supposed to, the encryption it provides is too easy to crack. KRACK vulnerability in WPA encryption made headlines a few months ago, allowing even amateur hackers to peep into your data.
Rule of thumb: Always select WPA2 encryption on your router. You can find this option in your router’s admin panel.
3. Does your Wi-Fi router have default login credentials?
To log in to your router’s admin panel, you are first required to type in an IP address, something like 192.168.0.1. Once you type this, you are then required to input a username and password. What is your username and password for accessing the admin panel? We sincerely hope it's not admin (username), admin (password)!
No wonder that these default credentials are very easy to remember, they are equally easy to guess as well. If a hacker plans to hack your network, his first attempt is to gain access using the default credentials. If you haven’t changed the default credentials, he would be able to access your Wi-Fi and all the devices connected to it without even hacking it.
4. Do you have additional access points at obvious locations?
Access points are additional signal broadcasters that help to increase the coverage area of your Wi-Fi network. If your house is big, and your Wi-Fi router cannot cover the entire area with its range, you would need to put up an additional access point.
These same access points, which are there to provide you convenience can help an intruder easily become a part of your network. While in most cases, a new user is required to enter a password to connect, access points have a button on their rear, and pressing that button eliminates the need for entering a password, allowing an intruder to connect instantly.
It is strongly recommended that your Wi-Fi router, as well as access points, are located in places which are hard to reach and away from plain sight. Hiding your Wi-Fi router and access points can play a pivotal role in keeping intruders at bay, obviously by making it difficult to gain access to your network.
5. Do you monitor your network regularly?
Last, but not at all the least – rather this is the most important factor that can keep your router safe from vulnerabilities. You should make it a point to regularly monitor your Wi-Fi network and look for a connected device that you do not recognize. Always block the devices that you do not recognize.
A better way to do this is to install a Wi-Fi security app on your device that allows you to monitor your network more efficiently. Such apps let you see all the devices that had connected to your network over a period of time. They can even notify you every time a new device connects to your network.
Regularly monitoring your Wi-Fi network is the only way to know for sure that only the devices you approve of are connected to your network. Other devices that you may not recognize may belong to your neighbors, who may be stealing your bandwidth. In worst cases, they may belong to a hacker who may be stealing your personal data!
The Best Way To Up Your Wi-Fi Security Game!
Integrating PureVPN with the digital aspect of your life is the best step you can take toward securing your privacy. PureVPN is the leading name in the VPN industry and has been securing its users from all Wi-Fi related attacks since almost a decade.
PureVPN offers great convenience to integrate it with your devices. It provides up to 5 multi logins, making it possible to secure all your devices in one subscription only. It has great advanced features such as IDS and IPS, which are custom built to stop network penetration and all other Wi-Fi related cyber-attacks.
PureVPN provides the added advantage to its users allowing them to integrate PureVPN directly into their Wi-Fi router. This makes it possible to secure each and every device connected to your Wi-Fi network. You can integrate PureVPN on your router using the DD-WRT applet. You can also configure PureVPN manually if your router if it runs on the out-of-the-box firmware.