So, you are working remotely from home, and are wondering what you can do to make your connection to work safer? We are going to walk through a couple of critical steps to help you secure your Wi-Fi router. First step, open your browser and type in 192.168.0.1 OR 192.168.1.1
Next you should see a screen like this – don’t worry about the warning, just click on Advanced and then connect to the IP message link at the bottom of the page:
Now you will be asked to login, and you may need to call your Internet Service Provider to set up a password. Each ISP will have a slightly different screen, so the next steps will not have pictures. Most screens will have a fairly easy menu option or choices.
- Reset your User Name and Password first – do not have admin as a username, and avoid using anything identifiable. Make sure that your password is unique, complex, and over 8 characters long.
- Rename your SSID (that is the “Name” that your router is known by) – make sure that your name and your address are not included – go for a name that no-one would recognize if they were scanning your street for Wi-Fi.
- Turn off broadcasting – that way only people who know the name of your Wi-Fi will be able to connect.
- Change the Wi-Fi password – the one used to connect your devices… this means that you will have to reconnect your and your family’s devices after this set up. If anyone is already tailgating on your Wi-Fi they will be kicked off your home network.
- Now, go to options for encryption – look for WPA2 or higher. Once again, if you are not certain what the highest encryption level is for your router, call your ISP for their assistance. Under no circumstances do you want to leave it set to WEP, which is essentially no encryption at all. Most current routers will have WPA2-PSK – you may be asked to create a PSK personal shared key – or your PSK may be the Wi-Fi password (most likely) so ensure that it is at least 16 characters long if your router supports that length.
- If you have notifications on the page, read through them.
- If you have an update available, go ahead and let it update, even if you have to reboot it.
- Slightly more advanced step: Under the Network > LAN settings you may have an opportunity to change your IP address to a non-default address. You will want to make sure that the address is on your network and available. Other devices on your home network will already have addresses and you cannot have 2 devices with the same address. So pick something like 192.168.1.25, if you have lots of phones, game consoles, laptops, and tablets at home.
- Document everything that you have done, so that you have the information for future changes!
- Turn off the option to Manage from a remote interface – aka Disable Remote Access – if your router allows. That way the only connection to the management page is via a direct connection to your router.
- If your router has Firewall controls:
ensure that peer-to-peer bit-torrent is turned off or blocked
enable browser filtering/online safety
some routers may have time of day settings – you can block Wi-Fi access while your family is sleeping, keeping bad actors from scanning your system in the middle of the night (and possibly keeping your teenagers from staying up all night streaming memes).
read through other firewall options and research each – turn on all that could benefit you. If you find that some things that you used to have available are now blocked, and the blocked service is really necessary, then you can go back in and unblock it.