Home Router Security – You Mean That Little Box Connected To The Other Thingamajig?

For most individuals once they have the all too precious Wi-Fi configured for their home they usually just set it up once and forget about it. Unless of course the internet acts up and in an attempt to restore Wi-Fi connectivity they will quickly reboot the router and hopefully get back to browsing or streaming once again.

However, your router does normally require several manual steps to help with its overall security. Below are some general guidelines you can follow. While not exhaustive, these steps should give you a good start to securing your home networking environment.

Change your credentials

Many router models have default credentials which are plastered in support documentation, on forums, and help desks all over the internet. The first thing you should do is change the username and password from the default. Remember to use something random, unique, and lengthy. Using default credentials can expose you to potential threats and other vulnerabilities. Also ensure that the admin interface is not open to the internet (outside your home network). Some routers offer this option and should be disabled as your router could be attacked via the internet to try to gain access to your network or install malicious software.

Change your Wi-Fi security settings

When setting up your Wi-Fi ensure to use WPA2 AES encryption only. Using the highly insecure and old WEP encryption or even WPA2 TKIP encryption is definitely not recommended. Also ensure to have a long, complex, and lengthy password to access your Wi-Fi. This helps to ensure that the password cannot easily be brute forced or guessed by another individual. The stronger the password the less likely someone malicious or someone looking for free Wi-Fi will be able to get onto the network.

While you are adjusting security settings it is recommended to change from default SSID name. This helps to make sure your network is unique and helps prevent your devices from trying to connect to other networks with the same name.

Keep your router up to date

This is one of the hardest steps for most individuals. Your router should have come with instructions or instructions can be found online for you particular model on how to update the firmware. For most routers you can visit the manufacturers website and download the updated firmware/software. Vulnerabilities and bugs are found throughout a device’s lifetime. Keeping the firmware up to date is the best way to help keep you and your network secure.

But wait my router manufacturer does not have any recent updates for my router…What should I do? If the manufacturer has outright end-of-life (EOL) your model you should upgrade to a new supported router. Even if you find that the model is not EOL it may make sense to upgrade if the manufacturer does not appear to be properly supporting the device and releasing security or feature updates.

Security is best when you are proactive and keeping your home devices such as routers secured is another important layer.

David Confeld

VP of Tech Ops @ InteProIQ