Identifying the Security Issue with Home Wi-Fi Routers

The most secure home Wi-Fi router must offer excellent network security in addition to high-speed data transmissions and extensive coverage. Home router security must be given high importance when thinking about the home router because your Wi-Fi station serves as the gateway for all connected devices to access the internet.

All of your internet-connected gadgets are exposed if your router has malicious software on it.

The necessity of taking network security more seriously has been brought home by a recent cyberthreat. Malware that is able to control your online traffic can target base stations from a particularly well-known router manufacturer. It could be used by attackers to steal your login information and empty your bank accounts. They could even open fake versions of the email service you use to view your messages and steal your password.

How therefore can we maintain the security of our home router from such threats?

1. Frequently update firmware

Get your IP address, a string of numbers you must enter into a web browser to access the router’s online dashboard, from the instruction manual for your router. Keep the IP address in a secure location. You can check for and install the most recent firmware version by clicking the firmware settings link in the router’s web dashboard. If a new update is available, choose to install it and reboot the router. Repeat this process every six months. Just like you should maintain operating systems updated on your personal computer, make sure your Wi-Fi station is always using the most recent version of its “firmware,” or software system.

Security Issue with Home Wi-Fi Routers
photo: Pixabay

2. Create a special username and password

Manufacturers want you to modify the weak default password that many Wi-Fi stations come with. With a weak login and password, anyone within your router’s range may access it and modify its settings, possibly exposing it to the wider community. Check your security settings and update your username and password to something secure and original. Security experts advise establishing lengthy, complex passwords with additional digits, unusual characters, and incomprehensible sentences. In the same location where you recorded your IP address, keep your new password.

3. After several years, change your router

Even if your router still seems to be operating normally, it has reached the end of its useful life once the manufacturers discontinue providing firmware updates, leaving it open to potential cyberthreats in the future. This will most likely occur every 3 to 5 years. It is essential to upgrade to newer hardware at that point. If there haven’t been any new firmware updates in the last year, the router has likely been taken off the market, and it’s time to update your router. Check your manufacturer’s website for its firmware releases. Automatic updates are a feature included in many recent Wi-Fi systems.

Disable UPnP
UPnP is a protocol that allows LAN-connected devices to break the router’s firewall. This makes these devices accessible to the entire Internet, where they may be attacked if they are weak points. Actually, port forwarding is enabled via UPnP without the router owner even being aware of what port forwarding is. Disabling UPnP makes you safer. You can log in to the router to see if any port forwarding is being done. The safe and secure condition is when no ports are forwarded. Nevertheless, there is a potential that disabling UPnP will interfere with a network communication that a device on your network, most likely an IoT device, relies on. This is why it is turned on by default on all consumer routers—it will reduce the number of calls to technical assistance.

Any router’s security can be significantly increased by implementing the configuration changes in this relatively small list:

– The router access password should be changed. Anything other than the default should be OK, but avoid using dictionary terms.
– Even if it seems odd, if your Wi-Fi network(s) are using the default password, change it. The minimum length for a Wi-Fi password is 16 characters.
– Change your WiFi network name (SSID) if it is the default. Avoid including your name in the names you choose for your networks.
– WPA2 (with AES, not TKIP) or WPA3 or both should be used for wi-fi encryption.
– Disable WPS
– Disable UPnP

– Always use a password-protected guest network, not just for visitors but also for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
– Since Remote Administration is so extremely risky, take the time to confirm that it is disabled if the router has a web interface. Disabling remote access to the router is untested territory if it is controlled by a mobile app and a cloud service.
– Technically speaking, port forwarding is like opening a door (TCP/IP port). Make sure there is no port forwarding by checking around the router configuration. There is a slight possibility that something on your network requires a port to be forwarded, but every port that is forwarded poses a security risk.

– Keep an eye out for brand new firmware updates. You will eventually go longer than a year without any updates. When that happens, a new router is required.

Your home’s digital infrastructure depends on having reliable, fast Wi-Fi, and your router is at its most safe when equipped with robust security measures. A few simple precautions taken regularly can go a long way toward ensuring a secure online experience for the whole family.

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