Today, few gadgets in your home are as important, yet underrated, as your router. Everything from your smartphone, laptop, smart TV to even your smart lights, smart speaker and more rely on it to stay connected to the internet and maybe even with each other. It acts as the singular point of entry and exit for all data in your household. Hence, the importance of securing it shouldn’t be difficult to grasp for anyone. Fortunately, it is not too complicated and requires but a few steps from you.

<Note: The following tips will largely require you to access your router’s settings. This can be done using an IP address or even an app for newer models. Check your router’s documentation to know the exact process.

Change passwords

Most routers come with WPA2 enabled by default, which requires every new device to enter a network password to access the router. For some reason, if this is not active for your router, spare no time in enabling it and setting up a secure password. Keep changing this password on a regular basis to keep any lurking visitors off your networks. In addition to that, keep changing the password required to access the router settings as well – this is something most of us leave in its default state, yet it can be used to completely reconfigure our router by anyone with basic network knowledge.

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Update router firmware

Low-level software known as firmware is what keeps devices like routers running. Its features like determining which devices can connect, enforcing security etc are operated by this software. While some modern models can self-update, you should always check if the latest software is operational on your router. If it doesn’t, you might need to download the latest firmware from your manufacturer’s website and update it yourself. It is worth the effort as these updates often carry crucial bug fixes and security patches.

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Disable certain features

There are certain features on your router that are designed to facilitate things like remote access and push-to-connect. While features like WPS, UPnP and remote access can be useful for those who need it, most of us don’t. On the other hand, they can be used by malicious actors and harmful software to gain high-level access to your router. To be safe, keep them disabled until you really need them.

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Use guest networks

If your router comes with the feature to provide guest networks, make the most of it. This gives your guests access to your Wi-Fi network without allowing them access to other locations on your network. Hiding your SSID, which is the name of the main network, also adds a layer of safety.

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Be mindful about security

While it is important to secure your router, it is equally crucial to keep other devices up to date as well. If one of the connected devices gets compromised in some manner, it can still provide access to your router despite the best router security measures in place. Keep your devices, especially unexpected points of access like your smart TV, printer etc up to date with the latest firmware and software updates.

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<Image Courtesy: Canva, Shutterstock

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