WiFi networks are everywhere: at home, in malls, offices, hotels, etc., and we use them for various purposes daily. We watch movies, make financial transactions, send messages and emails, play, and perform our work duties. But after wireless internet connections have brought convenience to our daily routine, they’ve also brought new risks.
By using unsecured or unencrypted WiFi networks, we run the risk of leaking confidential information or losing access to personal accounts. Let’s learn more about the reasons why it is important to use an encrypted WiFi connection and how to protect your home network with encryption algorithms.
Encryption algorithms are widely used in various applications and services to protect your personal information and prevent unauthorized access to the network. Your internet traffic is a pretty vulnerable thing and can be intercepted by third parties without extra effort. As a result, all your passwords, credit card details, accounts, messages, and bank information can be gone and used for malicious purposes.
By encrypting your network you minimize the risk of intervention in your personal space and ensure that only authorized users can access your network. Encryption scrambles your sent and received data and makes it unreadable to anyone without the appropriate decryption key, ensuring that your online activities remain private and secure.
The first and most important thing is to understand the basics. Encryption is a method of scrambling data. Only a person with the appropriate decryption key can read it. There are various encryption protocols: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2). Though all of them can be used, they provide a different level of security.
WEP is considered to be outdated and insecure and it is not recommended to use. WPA and WPA2 are more advanced protocols that can provide better security and protection against unauthorized access. WPA2 uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption and a dynamic encryption key that changes frequently, making it more difficult for attackers to crack it. At the moment, WPA2 is the strongest one and can be recommended for use.
After you start using a new router it is important to change default settings, including passwords, security settings, and encryption. Default security settings are often not strong enough to provide adequate protection. To check your router's settings to get the highest level of encryption available you can go to the router's settings available by typing the IP address into a web browser. Then you’ll be redirected to the login page. Enter router credentials and then you will get access to the router administration panel and be able to set up your router.
Go to the router administration panel and find your router's default network name, also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). It is needed to be changed from default because it can reveal the type of router you're using and make it easier for hackers to access your network. After you enter your router administration panel, find the network settings page and SSID field and enter a new name for your network here. It is important not to reveal some personal information in this name. Then save the changes and reboot the router.
The second default thing you need to change is the default password. They can be also easily accessible and used to get access to your WiFi network by unauthorized parties. The best practice is to use a password generator to create a new password. The combination should contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols, and be at least 10 characters long. It is crucial to use a unique password and not reuse it in other accounts. Some common combinations like “qwerty” or “123456” should also be avoided.
As we’ve already said before, WPA2 is the strongest encryption protocol available at the moment. Almost all modern routers support it. WPA and WEP can be easily cracked and are not recommended. WPA2 is the preferred WiFi encryption protocol due to its strong security features and better protection against brute-force and dictionary attacks.
If you set up a WiFi network in an office or cafe, create separate networks for personal use and your visitors. Choose a different name and password for the guest network. Creating a separate WiFi access point will help you to prevent using your personal network for malicious activities, and allow you to manage bandwidth and limit access of third parties to devices connected to the main network.
A virtual private network (VPN) is the best method to add an extra layer of security to your WiFi network. It will create a bulletproof tunnel between your network and the internet and encrypt all data sent and received on your device. Check out our VPN Unlimited solution which offers top-notch encryption algorithms and up-to-date security technologies.
After you set up encryption on your router and added an extra layer of security with VPN it is important to keep an eye on all the activity related to your WiFi network. Check the devices connected to your network to ensure that only authorized devices are accessing it, and monitor traffic to figure out some abnormalities in its usage. You can do it manually or find some utility tools.
Keeping software and firmware updated is one of the main basics of digital security. ROuter and services manufacturers work hard to develop new versions of their products patching all the vulnerabilities and weaknesses found. So, don’t ignore all the fresh updates to guarantee that your network will not suffer from already-known malware attacks.
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