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Wi-Fi and Optimising it for Security

Router from above

Wi-Fi and Optimising it for Security

Introduction

 

If you’ve read article one in this series, then you’d know the risks associated with ‘Bring Your Own Device’. You’d also know that in partnership with all the steps advised to counteract those risks, the right infrastructure is crucial in ensuring that the network continues to stay secure after the introduction of personal devices. So, in this article, we are going to give you the rundown on Wi-Fi security and what to look for, as well as how to make the home network secure.

In the workplace, the network environment will have been set up to its most secure potential. However, the routers we have at home to power our broadband won’t have been set up in the same way. The Company that installs your broadband has only one job, to get you connected to the internet.

 

Securing your Router at Home

 

However, there are more steps needed to make these devices optimal in terms of security. Routers have an almost ‘hidden’ settings system that allows you to make changes to the way it operates. How can something with no buttons and no screen be adjusted? You may be surprised to know that there isn’t some special device needed to plug into the router to make these adjustments.

The way to get access to these settings is by connecting to the router, opening the web browser of your choice (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, you name it) and typing the following in the address bar:

 

Virgin: 192.168.0.1
BT: 192.168.1.254
Sky: 192.168.0.1
TalkTalk: 192.168.1.1

 

If it is the first time you log in, you will be asked for a username and password. The defaults are listed below.

 

Virgin
Username: admin
Password: ‘randomly generated’ – printed on the router / Hub

 

BT
Username: admin
Password: ‘randomly generated’ – printed on the router / Hub

 

Sky
Username: admin
Password: sky

 

TalkTalk
Username: admin or printed on the router / Hub
Password: admin or printed on the router / Hub

 

Once you enter the address you should be taken to a page that looks somewhat similar to the below (minus the branding).

 

Configuring the Router

 

 

Here you can change the name of the router, change its password, and adjust its level of security. All routers now will have the ability to operate on WPA2 or even WPA3. For once, less is not more. WPA3 is the latest standard, so make sure to operate your router with it or at least on WPA2.

There are two passwords that need changing: the router password and the WiFi password. These two passwords should prevent anyone from getting non-consensual access to your network which could lead to data being stolen and allow access to all devices on that network, phones, smart TVs, printers, smart cameras and so on. Your whole life could be put on the plate for a bad actor if you are not careful. Here are some tips on passwords:

 

  • Don’t use any related dates or names. Not your first name, not your last name, not your pet’s name, not your parents’ names. Not your birth date, year, month. Simply no personal data. Think about it: it’s all over the place. Anyone who is connected with you on LinkedIn or Facebook has your information.
  • Don’t use common addresses. Not yours, not your workplace address.
  • Basically, don’t use personal information, especially not when it’s publicly available.
  • The longer the password the better. Make it at least 12 characters long.
  • Use special characters. But don’t substitute the casual o with a zero, or an A with a 4.
  • Don’t write passwords down. Like never.

 

Here is a good way to generate an extremely hard-to-crack password. Pick 4 random words. Add a special character and two numbers at the end.

KrakenBaguetteBatteryFountain:14
SpringBrowserSkritSafety’85
SingularBoatVestHelmet$25

Each of those takes at least 10 to the power of 30 (that’s a ten with 30 zeros) years to crack with standard brute force methods and they are impossible to guess as the words are not related to you, your family, your household or your job.

Feel free to book a session to go through this topic in more detail by clicking ‘Schedule Online’ in the top right corner of this page.

 

Setting up a guest WiFi

 

Now, this might sound a bit too extreme. After all, most people that you invite over are close friends and relatives and will not want to do you any harm, especially not through some sneaky network intrusion. But hear us out: it’s not about trusting your friends or family who come over for a drink. It’s about not trusting their mobile devices. If they connect a device that has been infected with malware, it will spread into the rest of your network unless you isolate it. They would not do it on purpose, surely not. But we want you to better be safe than sorry.

 

Most modern routers allow you to set up a guest network in the already open configuration tap in your browser. You can give it a name, really any name, and you would want to give it a password. Make sure to use a different password than the one for your main network. It should take you no longer than 5 min on a bad day to make your home network a lot more resilient.

 

Some last words

 

You now know how to make the home network as secure as possible. Meaning you can allow ‘BYOD’, whilst feeling reassured you are doing all you can in terms of protecting your business from threats.

 

Now, whilst this makes you as secure and resilient as possible, it sadly can’t make you completely invulnerable due to the innovative and constantly evolving ways hackers try to achieve their goals. What do you do when all the steps you’ve taken, still get breached by a hacker? Well, you need to have a plan in place to make sure you can get back to normal as quickly as possible. This is known as business continuity planning.

 

Want to find out what goes into business continuity planning? Want to know how to get back up and running as fast as possible when a cyberattack occurs? Then look out for our next article in this series, our YouTube video on Business Continuity planning or simply get in touch with our team.

 

This article is the second in a series that goes hand in hand with our YouTube Series ‘how to protect yourself and your business’ in partnership with NatWest. If you haven’t had a chance yet we suggest you check out our YouTube videos! They are a great auditory guide that when accompanied by this article gives you the best understanding of Wi-Fi security and what to look for, as well as how to make the home network as secure as possible.

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