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Enhance Your Wi-fi Security

Technology is becoming an essential part of people’s lives, helping to facilitate their day-to-day activities. It has also become the arena for many malicious actors trying to inflict damage to their victims. This article will look at steps that a tech savvy person can take to improve and protect their wifi security.

At the end of the article we will also provide a basic cheat-sheet for readers to increase their cyber security.

Wi-Fi System

Change Administrative Login [Critical] – Every Wi-Fi system comes with a default login credential to facilitate installation. This information is often available on the internet, which increases the risk of someone infiltrating the Wi-Fi system.

Strengthen Password Protection [Critical] – Change the password of everything related to your Wi-Fi system to something that can be remembered, while at the same time being unique and hard to decipher. Make use of symbols, numbers and letters and a minimum of 12+ characters (e.g. 1Th()rp1N531)

Change SSID Name [Critical] – SSID is the name in which users will be able to identify your Wi-Fi. In most cases, factories will provide a default SSID that can be easily traced back to them, increasing the risk that your system will be infiltrated. To decrease that risk, Wi-Fi administrators are encouraged to change SSID name. Some will prefer to have a business related name while others prefer funny name (Refer to this website for ideas)

Hide SSID Name [Recommended] – Most routers will have the option to hide the SSID name, this will ensure that a limited number of passersby will be able to see the network through normal mens. Approved users of the network will need to have the accurate SSID name and password to be able to enter the network. A persistent actor can still find your Wi-Fi with little to no effort, so do not consider this as a ‘safe’ solution on its own.

Wi-Fi Encryption [Critical] – The best encryption most routers have to offer is a combination of WPA2 and AES, so always chose them. This will ensure that the communication moved within the wireless network is less prone to infiltration/leak. In the upcoming years, WPA3 will likely become mainstream, so if you see that option, go with it instead of WPA2.

Activate Wi-Fi Firewall [Critical] – Wi-Fi Firewall serves as a layer of protection, telling the system whether a set of incoming data is in a blacklist that should be blocked or not. Every Wi-Fi system should have their firewall activated to increase the protection of the system and its users.

Wi-Fi System Update [Critical] – From time to time, router manufacturers will have updates that serve to improve its service or security patches. Some will automatically update, while others require the owner of the Wi-Fi system (router) to create monthly cadence to check whether there is an update via the manufactory’s website or the system’s interface.

Guest Network [Recommended] – A good portion of routers will allow for multiple networks to be created. For security purposes, it is preferable that external sources such as company or house guest use a Guest network to limit your data and network exposure. Similar settings to the ones listed above should be considered throughout the implementation, although passwords should be unique for Guests and may require it to be updated more often.

Implement a VPN [Optional] – VPN or Virtual Private Network is a tool used to extend security between two private network parties to decrease the risk of leakage or infiltration. A majority of Wi-Fi systems have the option to add a VPN to the network, although it often costs extra.

Conclusion – The items listed above will provide a basic level of security that every Wi-Fi system owner/admin should strive for. For those in need of a higher level of security or a better understanding of what/why certain levels of security is needed, you are encouraged to hire a professional. Data is a driving force for businesses and individuals in today’s technologically driven society, be sure to take steps to protect that data.

Wi-Fi for Users

Do Not

  • Enter an untrusted network.
  • Use public network for personal stuff such as banking, social media, corporate, etc.
    Exception: If conditions are precarious, use a VPN + HTTPS websites to add a layer of protection.
  • Leave your Wi-Fi connector on when not in use. The capability of seeing multiple Wi-Fi’s can also be used to search for electronics interested in connecting to a Wi-Fi.

Double Check

  • The name of the WiFi (SSID) to confirm it is not a spoof.
  • Your VPN is working as intended. Use a website such as (link) to check whether the IPv4 & IPv6 shows your current address of the VPN address (you want the VPN address to show).
  • To see whether automatic connection to sensitive information is disabled prior to using a public network. For example, do not auto-connect to e-mail, file sharing, etc.
  • To see if your system and antivirus are up-to-date prior to using a public network.
  • For websites with HTTPS since it contains encryption that limits the snooping occurring within the Wi-Fi network.
  • The Terms of Conditions provided prior to using the Wi-FI.

Implement a VPN [Recommended] – VPN or Virtual Private Network is a tool used to extend security between two private network parties to decrease the risk of leakage or infiltration. Although it costs money to have, it also increases user privacy, decreasing the risk that private or public networks try to tap your data.

Have your own Wi-Fi – To decrease the odds that others are using their Wi-Fi system to snoop your data, bring your own Wi-Fi with you and use the Wi-Fi system guidelines to increase your safety on the internet.

Backup

Most businesses and individuals keep a large amount of data stored in their electronics. However, not everyone keeps a second copy of their most valuable data. So what happens if a laptop is stolen, a hard drive stops working or a virus wipe-out the data? That person can lose countless hours, money and resources if they did not take the necessary precautions to backup. This segment will look at some areas that should be considered prior to deciding the best backup solution for the individual/entity.

Decide

  • Whether to have a physical or virtual backup of your most important data.
  • What physical options exist and whether it works for the data I have. (E.g. Network Attached Storage, External Hard Drive, CD/DVD).
  • What Virtual options exist and whether it works for the data I have. (E.g. Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, SharePoint).
  • Price, volume, security & speed.
  • The data/folders that need backup.
  • What settings I may need to have in my virtual or physical backup to conform to my needs.

Technology Cheat-Sheet

In General:

  • Reach out to a family member or trusted advisor if something looks off. Their feedback can help you make an informed decision.
  • Always double check the sources before providing personal or company information.
  • Do not visit, click, download or install anything from an untrusted sources.
  • Scammers will often create a sense of urgency to get you to act before thinking. Always remember that!
  • Do not provide personal/corporate/financial information when an entity requests it unless you are 110% certain of the validity of the request.
  • Be mindful that scammers will use legit entities to try to get to you.
  • [Stay Safe from Phishing & Scams] video by Google
  • Remember to password protect anything of value. Always use a different password.
  • Always keep an eye for unsuspected shoulder surfing.
  • Do not leave your electronic without supervision. If that is not an option, always physically and digitally lock it.
  • Do not click on “You have a virus”, “Free money” pop-ups.
  • Always have a backup (digital or otherwise) for important data.
  • Keep your device up-to-date to ensure the highest security and quality of service.

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Do you have any questions or would like to contribute to the discussion? Leave a comment!

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