Protecting your router from unauthorized access is essential. Nefarious anonymous users that connect to your router not only consume the bandwidth that you purchase, but these individuals can implicate you in crimes by using your Internet connection for illegal activity. An open network also compromises your personal data when you bank or shop online. You can block anonymous users from sharing your Internet connection by configuring security and changing a few settings on your router.
Set WPA/WPA2 Security
- Always make sure that users must enter a passphrase to connect to your network. Most home network routers are shipped with both WEP and WPA/WPA2 security options. Both types of security operate in the same way. The network administrator specifies a passphrase in the router’s administrative interface, and then each user must enter the passphrase to connect to the network. However, the difference between WEP and WPA/WPA2 is the strength of encryption used to secure the connection. WPA/WPA2 offers stronger encryption and therefore, is more secure. Set WPA/WPA2 security with a strong passphrase to secure your network against unauthorized access.
Disable SSID Broadcasting
- The SSID of Netgear routers is “Netgear” and for Linksys routers, “Linksys.” Rename the SSID to a name you will remember. By default, routers broadcast the SSID, or wireless network name. The broadcast SSID is found by wireless adapters when searching for available connections. When you disable SSID broadcasting, the name of your router is hidden from Wi-Fi scans. Note that you will need to manually enter the SSID of your router to establish a connection to the hidden network. The Enable SSID Broadcast setting can be found in the router’s administrative interface. Locate this setting and uncheck the check box to disable broadcasting.
Disable Guest Network
- Some routers are shipped with Guest networks enabled by default. The Guest network allows users to connect anonymously to the network as a guest. Though guest users do not have access to files and computers on the network, you can eliminate anonymous connections by disabling the Guest network on the router.
- All routers can be enabled to filter connected devices by MAC address. For maximum security, set the MAC address for each device you use to connect to your network in the MAC filter for your router. The MAC filter is also named “Attached Devices” in some router interfaces. With MAC filtering enabled, only devices with their MAC address specified in the configuration can connect to your network.
Change Router Password
- The default router password for the administrative interface can be found on the Internet in a short search, or in the user manual for the device. Change the administrative password to secure your router’s administration application. If you forget the password, resetting the router with the “Reset” button will return all settings to the original factory defaults.