Is your wi-fi router safe from attackers? What you need to know

ANYONE who owns a wi-fi router is susceptible to internet attacks, and it’s impossible to completely protect yourself. However, there are things you can do to significantly improve your internet security. Here are some tips from Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

Keep firmware up to date: Firm-ware is the operating system of the router. Updates bring new functions, but they also fill security gaps. Therefore you should, if possible, activate automatic updates on the router.

Failing that, you should regularly check the manufacturer’s website for updates.

Disable remote access: Some routers offer the option to connect hard disks to the internet. However, this feature can provide an attack route for hackers and so should be disabled – as, in principle, should all unused features.

Use a cable: When setting up the router and for all subsequent maintenance work, connect it to your computer using a LAN or USB cable – even when a wi-fi connection is possible.

For safety, experts recommend using a connecting a router to your computer using a LAN or USB cable - even when a wi-fi connection is possible. - DPA
For safety, experts recommend using a connecting a router to your computer using a LAN or USB cable – even when a wi-fi connection is possible. – DPA

Change the password: Default WLAN passwords, also known as WLAN keys, are often not secure and can be cracked by attackers. So you should assign your own password, a complex one with at least 20 characters. You should also check if secure WPA2 encryption is enabled.

Change the administrator password: This password in the device’s settings menu is often the same for many or all of the routers made by that manufacturer. For this reason, you should set your own individual, secure password.

Change the network name: Users should give their WLAN a new network name (SSID). This is because the default is often the manufacturer name and the device type – something that unauthorised users can exploit. The new SSID should have no connection to the user, for example by using their name or address.

Don’t leave your wi-fi on: A simple but effective precaution is to turn off your router when it’s not used. (dpa)