How to Hack Proof Your Wireless Router

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and Free and Open Source Software Developers European Meeting (FOSDEM) in 2016 was quite a memorable affair.

The big reason? The unveiling of the first hack-proof router in the world, the Turris Omnia Wifi Router, a crowd-funded project by a cybersecurity research company called NIC.cz.

Here you have a virtually impenetrable system up for grabs.

Now, even though this tech has been finally made available to us all, not all of us can afford the price tag or invest in another router while already owning one.

Router hacking has become quite common nowadays, so what do you do to secure yourself from unwanted breaches by cybercriminals and pesky hackers?

In this post, we will look at some easy ways you can effectively hack-proof your wireless routers.

1. Enable WPA2 Wireless Encryption:

Simply put, any wireless network out there needs to turn on its encryption to protect data from straying or traversing.

Of course, you also want to keep any freeloaders and unwanted users from penetrating their way into your network.



Wi-fi Protected Access or WPA2 as it helps to encrypt your entire network. Most routers in the market come with WPA2 enabled by default, but it is still good to ensure it's turned on, as some of the routers in the market are still using WEP or Wired Equivalent Security.

There are many router hack tools available online that easily cracks WEP encryption in a matter of seconds.  

A simple solution to avoid this inconvenience is to check your router’s manual or go online. You will find this in the “Security” or “Wireless” menu irrespective of the router manual you have in hand.

If your router only seems to have a WEP encryption available, check with your router’s manufacturer if there is a patch available, as some of the old WEP routers have firmware upgrades that enable WPA2 encryption.
Tip: Even if you already have WPA2 encryption enabled, make sure to update your firmware patches.2 regularly

. Change your SSID Network Name:

Another common thing often overlooked by people getting a new router with Wi-fi is changing their default network name.

Why is this important? Most of the default names used by TP-Link, Netgear, D-Link, etc. have common passwords that are available online.

Hackers also make use of rainbow tables, a stack of precomputed tables with passwords.

These tables come with hash values that can be pre-matched with possible plaintext passwords.

A skilled hacker can quickly make use of these existing pre-built rainbow tables with common SSID names to crack your wireless encryption.

The solution to solving this problem this is two-fold.

  1. Change your network name and create a strong SSID
  2. Set a secure password for your wireless network. Use a mix of alphabets, numbers and alphanumeric characters.

3. Turn on the Router Firewall:

Folks often go around the net searching for solutions on “how to secure wifi” and “how to block wifi hackers” but the better answer is right in front of them.

Just as your PC has a firewall system in place, your router has one too.

Turning on the firewall on your wireless router makes your network traffic less visible which in turn makes it less likely prone to a router hack. 

The majority of routers today come with a stealth mode, which makes your network less visible to most attacks.

These wireless router firewalls are hardware-based to protect your network. So, once you have configured your firewall, don’t just leave it be but instead check on it.

Try testing it from outside of your network. Many penetration testing tools can help you with the testing aspect of your router.

4. Disable the Router's Admin Access:

Disabled the web interface of the router is one of the more straightforward ways to prevent hackers from getting control of your network.

This feature is present in the advanced setting tabs of your router.

When you disable the admin feature of your router, you ensure that only people with physical access can access the admin settings.

With the admin functionalities disabled, a potentials hacker cannot access the admin functions without physically accessing the router.



You can easily disable the admin access on your wireless router. Go to the router setup screen and look for the administration section. Once there, click on the disable remote administration tab. 

The router interface is now only available only by a computer connected to your router via a network cable.

5. Use a Personal VPN Service:

Virtual Private networks or VPN’s happen to be one of THE best ways you can protect yourself and your data.

A VPN offers safe and encrypted connections that are both secure and shields your browsing activity from prying eyes.



VPN services have traditionally been used by big corporations to secure critical data, but today it is also available at a low cost for the common man.

Using a VPN not only hides your location but also masks your IP address by putting up a wall of strong encryption that protects your network on the go. 

Today, you have an option to choose from various service providers that offer VPN service for a basic fee. A quick online search will reveal a list of different VPN service providers whose services you can use.

Getting a VPN service at the router level is perhaps the best solution on offer for millennials that can be used in their homes as well as offices.

Conclusion

Hackers usually make use of various router hacking techniques to access your network.

As such there are no concrete ways to make your device and router fully hacker proof.

Making use of these small essential steps can help ensure that your network is a harder target.

The last thing you need is someone stealing your private and personal data for nefarious means.

Why give them the satisfaction, right?

Vincent

Geeky wordmsith with a penchant for traveling, photography, new tech gadgets and everything mouth savory. In his free time, he can often be seen strutting around with a camera in hand or debating endlessly with fellow enthusiasts about new technologies, application of AI and the latest binge watching series. A serious advocate of technology and an Elon Musk admirer, he believes in technology with real world implications aimed at betterment of human lives.

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