Now that we are slowly coming out of the COVID-19 Pandemic, work might never return to the “normal” of employees spending the majority of their days in an office building. Remote working, or some hybrid, is probably here to stay, says Forbes Magazine. How much did the Pandemic effect our working habits? Pew Research reported in December of 2020 that roughly 20% worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak and that number quickly ratcheting up to 71% during the outbreak. They also report that 54% would want to work from home after the outbreak ends.
With a lot of us still working from home, our home wireless networks have become an indispensable component of work ecosystem. We have come to a point where we cannot imagine a modern home or home office without a wireless network. However, these wireless networks have become a very easy and lucrative hunting grounds for hackers looking for easy targets. Routers can be easily exposed to external attacks, or inadvertently transmit sensitive information over the web. Hence it has become increasingly important to secure your home network against hackers or other malicious threat actors.
The following are ten simple tips that can be used to secure your home WIFI network from intruders.
- Change the default name of your Wi-Fi network, avoid anything that gives more information about the equipment, yourself, or its location, use an SSID name that simple and universal e.g., Pluto or Mickey1. (Avoid SSID names like Linksys1126-2.4GZ, or Jose-livingroom).
- For heaven’s sake secure your WIFI network with a strong password (Key) + WPA2 and regularly keep changing the password at least once every 90 days.
- Make an inventory of devices at home and regularly tally it to the devices connected, this will help to detect if any unauthorised devices that are / have been connected to your network.
- Limit the number of devices that can connect to your home WIFI, if you have 15 devices at home you do not need an entire /24 IP address subnet, use a much smaller IP address range like a /27 or /28 subnet, this also limits the number of devices that can connect to your network
- Do not share your WIFI network with guests, create a separate network just for your guests and then turn it off when it is not in use. Most modern WIFI routers allow you to create more than one network. With a separate guest network this allows you to restrict what your guests can access, and you can ensure they only connect to the internet and not any of your devices & data.
- Where possible, have a separate network for work and one for non-work-related activities to ensure your sensitive work data and devices are fully segregated from any other devices. This will reduce the risk of accidental data spillage.
- Just because a device can connect to a WIFI network does not mean it has to connect to your WIFI, try to avoid connecting all nonessential devices like colour-changing bulbs, Google Home, Alexa, or Fridge to your network. When connecting all these types of devices to your network they extend the attack surface for hackers to access your WIFI network by manipulating these devices.
- Invest in superior quality WIFI routers from reputable vendors as they go through rigorous security testing cycles. Avoid buying devices from grey market or unknown online vendors as these devices may be compromised.
- Regularly update firmware on your WIFI devices to ensure they have the latest security patches and if there is an option set it to automatically update the firmware make sure it is turned on.
- If you have the means and technical skills utilize advanced features and technologies like MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering, individual authentication, certificate-based authentication, firewall, and network rules to further enhance the security of your home network this make it many times harder for unauthorised people to access your network.
Follow these ten simple tips to protect you home wireless network like a Ninja!
Let me know if you find these ten tips to help secure your Home Wi-Fi router were useful. If you have additional ideas to add to this list or want to share your experience (good, bad or scary) securing your home Wi-Fi, please share them in the comments section.