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Your home router is probably the most important device in your home because everything depends on the Internet nowadays and it is the gadget that checks the incoming and outgoing traffic and also makes sure that the information that is being shared across the network is safe. However, before a home router can monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic, it needs to be secured and protected so that no one is able to gain access to the network because if someone were to gain access to the network, then all of the data and the devices connected to the network would be compromised.

When you have this thing in mind that if someone else was to gain unauthorized access to your router and everything will be compromised then perhaps you will think about keeping your router secure and protected and it is essential that you do so.

Protecting your home router isn’t that much difficult, and the steps to make the router secure aren’t too time-consuming, but they will make sure that no one gains unauthorized access to your router.

Here are some tips that can help you protect your home router from bad actors:

Changing the Passwords

This is the first step to secure your router to make sure that there is no unauthorized access to your router. When talking about changing the passwords then it means both the WiFi password and the administrator password.

For WiFI Password, you should be using WPA3 or WPA2 as these are the most secure encryption protocols available, and make sure that your password isn’t something simple such as ‘12345678’. Set a password that is difficult and tricky for anyone to guess, a combination of upper-case, lower-case letters along with numbers and special characters is usually preferred.

As for the administrator password then it is the password that is used to access the web-based interface of the router and it is usually something simple such as “admin” or “password” and anyone connected to your network can access the web-based interface of the router and mess up with the settings of the router. So, when you set up your router then make sure that you change the administrator password too. In this way, no one will be able to access the web-based interface of the router except you.

Keep the Firmware Updated

Just like your PC or mobile phone which runs on an Operating System, routers run on a low-level software called firmware. It is basically the Operating System of the router and it controls what the router does.

The router firmware has all the security standards and which devices can connect and which cannot. For most of the new day routers, they update themselves in the background and are always up to date with the latest version, however, for older models that isn’t the case.

With each new update comes new bug fixes and security patches that weren’t available in the previous version and it is always worth it to keep your router updated all the time.

The process of updating the firmware may different from router to router but it usually involves logging into the web-based interface of the router and updating the firmware. To access the router firmware you need to open the default IP address assigned to your router which is typically,

Using the Guest Network

Nowadays, almost every router comes with a feature called Guest Network which allows the router to broadcast a whole new network, a guest network separate from the main network.

As the name suggests, it lets your guests access the internet without them being a part of the main network. So, it means that the guests are able to use the internet and at the same time, all the shared files and folders across the network remain secure.

Another advantage you get with the guest network is that if someone was to access a malicious file on the main network, unknowingly, then it would not spread across the network as it would on the main network and cause problems. With the guest network, you also get the feature that no one will be able to access the web-based interface of the router and mess up the settings of the router.

Guest Networks are available on most of the routers and you can enable them from the web-based interface of your router.

Disabling Remote Access, UPnP, and WPS

To make it easier for devices to connect to the home routers, they come with features that allow remote access but these features, from a security point of view aren’t that important and everything can work fine without these features.

These include Remote Access, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). With UPnP, you can easily connect to the router and access the internet without having to do anything but it can also be used by malware applications and programs to gain access to your router.

As far as WPS is concerned, then it is a feature that lets you connect devices to the router with just a push button or a PIN code. The push-button feature is the safe one and unless someone has physical access to the router, they won’t be able to connect any device to the router but the PIN Code feature is vulnerable because a numerical PIN is easier to crack than an alphanumeric password.

It is not that with these features turned on, you will be instantly exposed and the security of your router will fall but to keep everything safe, it is recommended that you turn off these features.

MAC Filtering

MAC Filtering is a security control feature that uses the MAC Address or Physical Address that is assigned to the network card of every device to determine access to the network. It is one of the most secure security features that is very hard to pass through.

With MAC Filtering, you get two options, either to whitelist devices or blacklist devices.

When you whitelist some devices on the basis of their MAC Address then only whitelisted devices will be able to connect to the network, other devices won’t be able to even if they type in the correct WiFI Password.

When you blacklist some devices on the basis of their MAC Addresses then the blacklisted devices won’t be able to connect to the network, at all, no matter what.

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