As much as people may wish otherwise, the simple truth is that a “hacker-proof” piece of software or hardware. This is no different from things that are “water-proof”. It may be incredibly water-resistant, but if it stays in the water long enough it’s going to get damaged. Since there are things you can do to strengthen your wireless signal, you may as well learn how to do them. After all, your wireless router is perhaps the number one target for low-grade hackers trying to get a free connection off of your bandwidth. Here are some ways you can protect yourself.
Strong SSID Network Names, Preshared Keys, and WPA2 Wireless Encryption
WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is like the lock on your front door. It comes standard and leaving it unlocked leaves your wireless router completely unprotected. This is the current encryption security. The previous security method was WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), but at this point, those are as easy to bypass as the old skeleton key lock system. If you have an older router, then you might require a firmware upgrade in order to use WPA2. However, if you’re on a router that needs a firmware upgrade for such a thing, then it’s usually better to simply buy a new router. There’s no reason to use old technology!
Your Wi-Fi network name (SSID) is like putting in a custom-made lock. Routers come with default names. If you leave the default name then you’re letting hackers use tools that are more widely available for hacking. There are plenty of programs that run through common SSID names and match common encryption codes to them. This allows them to find the right crack within moments.
A random SSID can make it far more difficult to hack since the hacker won’t be familiar with your specific encryption information. It can be tempting to put in a long string of random letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t do this, as it actually makes things easier on the hackers. Instead, think of four random words shoved together (such as “frogrecordmonkeycommon”). This creates exponentially more variables, and it’s easier to remember as well.
Turn On The Firewall
Firewalls can be obnoxious, especially if you’re not certain how to personalize them.
However, firewalls are vital if you want to keep your network invisible. Or at least harder to find. Most router-based firewalls come with a built-in “stealth mode” which helps cover your signal. Hire a computer technician (a real one, not a salesperson in a big-box store with a t-shirt) if you need help configuring your firewall. Different broadband companies provide different safety mechanisms , so always perform broadband comparison with simplyswitch.com before purchase.
Create an Encrypted Personal VPN Service
Not too long ago, virtual private networks were difficult to afford. The technology has advanced since then, and a VPN can be purchased for only a small monthly payment. VPNs are the best thing to have if you really want to keep the hackers out of your system. VPNs rotate your IP address. This means your computer rarely connects to the internet using the exact same “digital address”. It’s like taking a different route to work every day. There are several VPN service vendors. Since January 2018, companies such as StrongVPN, WiTopia, and several others have begun offering $10 a month service.
If your router is set up for VPN service – and if it isn’t then it’s worth the upgrade – then you already have the best path for implementation. This is what ensures you have a truly amazing number of routes to the internet! It also relieves your computer of the work required to run a VPN client.
If your router is old enough – or you simply want to buy a new one – then you have a choice of several companies and models. Buffalo Technologies manufactures several different router models that come with VPN capabilities.
Turn Off “Admin via Wireless” Setting
The last tip is to disable administrative access via the wi-fi router all together. Turning off the “admin via wireless” setting forces computers to hook up to the router using an Ethernet cable. It’s hard to hack your router when someone has to be inside your home to do it! This is a great way to have a bit of peace of mind. However, keep in mind that it will make it harder for you to access admin privileges, as well.
As mentioned above, nothing is truly hacker-proof. However, these tips will help you become as hacker-resistant as you can be!