How to Setup and Secure a Home Network Wireless Router

Why is it Important to Know How to setup and secure a Home Network Wireless Router in Your Residence?

Unlike traditional wired local networks, wireless networks are confined within the walls of your house. This article will explain How to setup and secure a Home Network Wireless Router. Depending on your type of signal and networking equipment your signal may be able to be detected as far away as a 1000 feet. If your wireless signal is not secure it may exposing sensitive data to malicious actors or may allow your Internet connection to be used by unauthorized persons.

Anyone who can connect to your home network wireless router may be able to do any of the following:

  • View information about your system and gain access to files on your computer or other devices.
  • See the websites you are visiting and possibly capture log-in names and passwords.
  • View communication between you and others, via email or chat applications.
  • Gain access to your system and spread a virus or some other type of malware.
  • Download copyrighted, or other illegal, material using your connection and subject you to a criminal investigation.

It is important to take the necessary safety measures to ensure your system is safe and your privacy is ensured. There is a false sense of security that is widespread within home wireless network users. There are so many things that can go wrong that security should be a priority. Taking the time to learn about the home network wireless router you are using can be of great benefit. It is important to know How to setup and secure a Home Network Wireless Router.

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Even if it’s a router/gateway/modem that is supplied by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Cox Communications®, there are still things the user should know. Many of these devices have additional security settings that can be accessed by the user. There are often applications on the router that allows for monitoring traffic and connected devices, as well as diagnose performance and security issues.

The only eyes on your computer should be your own!
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Image by prettysleepy1 from Pixabay

Reasons you might purchase your own home network router

There are several reasons you may need to purchase your own home network router.

  • You may prefer to use your own instead of leasing one from your ISP,
  • perhaps you are adding on an additional router for expansion or security purposes,
  • maybe you are setting up a separate network for smart home appliances and internet of things (IoT) devices.
Read More: Smart Homes ~ Should We Fear Digital Intruders?

If you are setting up a smart home network this article will assist in learning How to setup and secure a Home Network Wireless Router. A highly recommended home network router is the ASUS AC2900 WiFi Dual-band.

How to setup and secure a Home Network Wireless Router

The companies that build home network wireless routers try to make them as user friendly as they can. Most wireless routers come with an app that can be used during the setup process. These apps certainly simplify installation but may not always address and utilize the best security practices. Here’s a list of important security considerations:

  • Check for Firmware Updates — Some manufacturers ensure that the device’s firmware is always up-to-date. In other situations, the user may need to find the correct settings and manually update the router. Although the router is right out of the box there may be recently published updates available.
  • Change Default Login Credentials — Default credentials can be targeted by malicious actors trying to infiltrate your home network. Change the password to a complex and long password. Also, change the network router name for additional anonymity.
  • Verify a Secure Encryption Scheme is in Place — Enable the most sophisticated level of encryption available on the router. At the minimum Wi-Fi Protected, Access 2 (WPA2) is necessary. This will protect anyone who may be eavesdropping on your signal from being able to view your communications. WPA2 scrambles (encrypts) all traffic, outgoing, and incoming.
  • Set-up a Guest Network — Proving separate log-in credentials for guests is a way of segmenting your primary network. This helps to protect your primary network, and associated devices, form any malicious actions by users, and any malware their devices may be infected with.
  • Configure Your Router’s Built-In Firewall — A good home network wireless router will have a built-in firewall and is typically active by default. Ensure it is turned on and set up any additional configurations that are appropriate for your environment.

Along with these recommendations, you should also ensure all devices connected to your network are up to date and all utilized a good antivirus software solution. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer a free solution as part of their service. You should inquire directly with them. For instance, Cox Communications® offers a security suite by McAfee, but it is almost impossible to find on their website.

READ MORE: How to Create Complex and Unique Passwords
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Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

Maintaining Your Home Network Router Security

How to check your router for malware

No matter how diligent and careful you are bad stuff can still happen. An example of that is an event that happened last year. That’s when thousands of WiFi routers were compromised during a router malware attack by the VPNFilter threat. To help disrupt the attack the FBI issued an urgent request to small office and home wireless routers owners to reboot their devices.

Hackers try to infiltrate your network by targeting your router. Once compromised, they can take control of your internet requests and redirect them to malware-infected servers. Home network wireless router owners must realize the magnitude of this problem and ensure their devices are updated with the most current manufacture updates (as stated earlier in this article). From time-to-time routers should be checked for malware.

Following are signs of a possible router malware infection:

  • Slow network performance.
  • Google searches that are redirected to strange sites.
  • Known-good Passwords that aren’t working.
  • Programs and apps that crash randomly.
  • New software mysteriously installed on your device.

If you suspect your router has been infected by malware there is a free tool that can check it for you. It is called the F-Secure Router checker . It will quickly check your router for infections and vulnerabilities.

RELATED POST: USING A VPN ON A HOME NETWORK
Featured image by Stux from Pixabay

Updated on November 21, 2020 by Kirby Allen

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