How to secure home router

Hackers have discovered ways to hack into home routers and modify their configuration. They do this by taking advantage of JavaScript which is built into webpages and logging in as administrators, ultimately altering the router’s DNS settings and assigning DNS servers controlled by attackers. These hacked home routers will then be used as a springboard to perform a number of malicious actions like identity theft and malware attacks.

Another interesting fact is that many of the targeted routers are left with the default administrative password unchanged, making is rather easy for the cyber-criminals to hack into. We can’t be sure about how many routers still use the default admin credentials but they sure are many.

Let’s review some tips you can follow in order to secure your home router:

Administrative Password

Is your router’s administrative password anything similar to “admin” or “1111” or “password”? If yes, then you should immediately replace it with a complex one as trouble is just around the corner if you retain such a weak password.

SSID name

Another basic thing that you should not neglect doing is to change the default SSID name provided. The default SSID name may reveal information like the device manufacturer which can be useful to hackers on their attempt to breach your router’s security. Create your own SSID name but be careful to avoid using any type of distinctive information.

SSID Broadcast

Keeping the SSID broadcast function on, will allow you to easily detect your router and connect your devices to the network, but this is not ideal in terms of security as by-passers will also be able to see the presence of your network. If it is difficult for you to connect new devices to the network, you can always temporarily re-enable this option on your router, register the new device and switch it back off.

WPA vs WEP

WEP has weaknesses that have been widely documented and therefore users should not use it for authentication but should switch to WPA for encrypting their wireless network. WPA also offers usability benefits as you don’t have to choose between ASCII or HEX and also there’s no need to create specific length passwords.

Wireless Power

You should try to restrict the signal transmission to the boundaries of your home. Open your router’s configuration and look for the option to modify the wireless radio power setting.

DHCP

The use of DHCP should be reduced if not eliminated as the router will not provide an IP address just to your devices but also to any devices that will manage to connect to it. If you’re not using many devices, you could consider disabling DHCP and manually setting up the IP properties on each device.

MAC Filtering

Most routers support MAC filtering, so you can consider using this function and limit access to only those devices of which you have added the MAC address information to the respective table on the router.

Remote management

This feature will allow you to manage your router from outside your network. This is not a function that is regularly used, so best keep it disabled, or at least change the default port number setting.

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