When buying a Wi-Fi router, most people normally don’t pay much attention to network security and instead prioritise speed of data transmissions and how much range the router can cover —  this needs to change. Network security is extremely important as a Wi-Fi station is the gateway for devices to get on the internet. If your router becomes infected with malicious software, all your connected devices will become vulnerable and you may suffer from unwanted consequences.

To ensure that your router is safe, here are some steps you can follow:

1. Routinely update the firmware
If an update is available for your router’s firmware, it’s highly recommended to install the updates every three to six months. Firmware updates can be checked online by entering your router’s IP address into your web browser and logging in to the base station with your router’s username and password. You can also call the customer service department of the service provider you obtained your router from and ask them whether your router has been updated with the latest firmware.

2. Set a unique username and password
When you first get your new router, you are often given a pre-set username and password combination such as “user” and “password. As such, it’s recommended to change the existing username and password before using it to protect yourself from potential unwanted situations. Having a weak and easily guessable password allows for the possibility of someone else logging into your router and changing its settings, potentially opening it for use by everyone else.

3. Replace your router every few years
When the manufacturers of your router stop releasing firmware updates for your specific model of router, it’s time to change it, even if the router still seems to function properly. Not having the firmware of your router updated leaves it vulnerable to future cyberthreats. This normally happens every three to five years, when the manufacturers release newer models of routers. The best way to check this is to look up your router’s model on the manufacturer’s website and check for the latest firmware update — if it hasn’t been updated in the last year, it’s likely to have been discontinued, and you should replace your router with a newer model.

Source: The New York Times