The importance of wireless network security cannot be underestimated. With the rise of mobile devices and the proliferation of public Wi-Fi hotspots, the potential for data breaches and other cybersecurity threats has grown exponentially.
While there are various steps that can be taken to secure a wireless network, these 12 best practices are essential to ensuring that your data and devices are safe from malicious actors.
1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to the login process. It requires the user to enter both a username and password, as well as a code generated by the authenticating application. This makes it harder for someone to gain unauthorized access to the network.
To enable two-factor authentication, go to your wireless router’s configuration page and enable it. Make sure to download an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy and have it available when you sign in.
You can also consider using passwordless authentication like radius cloud for even stronger protection. This is an important best practice because if someone manages your password, they will be able to access your network. By using a cloud-based solution, you can be sure that only authorized users can access your network.
2. Use strong passwords
Using strong passwords is one of the most important ways to secure your wireless network. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Passwords should be changed regularly to ensure that they remain secure.
3. Data encryption
Data encryption is another important best practice for securing wireless networks. Data encryption scrambles data so that only authorized users can decrypt and read it. This helps protect sensitive information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals.
Encryption can be done in a number of ways, including through the use of encryption software, hardware, or services. Make sure employees are aware of the importance of encrypting sensitive data and that they know how to properly encrypt files.
4. Disable SSID Broadcast
Turning off SSID broadcasting is another best practice for securing wireless networks. When SSID broadcasting is enabled, it allows anyone within range of the wireless network to see the name of that network. You can disable SSID broadcasting by going to your wireless router’s configuration page and disabling SSID broadcasting.
The goal is to make it harder for unauthorized individuals to connect to the network. The SSID can still be seen if someone is within range of the network and using a wireless network scanner, but it won’t be easily accessible.
5. Use MAC Filtering
Using MAC filtering is another best practice for securing wireless networks. MAC addresses are unique identifiers assigned to devices connected to a network.
By only allowing devices with a specific MAC address to connect to the network, you can help prevent unauthorized access. MAC filtering can be done by going to the wireless router’s configuration page and adding the MAC addresses of the devices that are allowed to connect to the network.
6. Enable WPA3 Security
Enabling WPA3 security is another best practice for securing wireless networks. WPA3 is the newest and most secure wireless security protocol. It provides stronger protection than WPA2 and should be used whenever possible.
When shopping for a router, make sure to look for one that supports this latest security protocol. Earlier protocols were more vulnerable to compromise, so it is important to ensure that WPA3 is enabled.
7. Use VPN
Using a VPN is another best practice for securing a wireless network. A VPN encrypts all traffic between the device and the VPN server, making it harder for someone to eavesdrop on the connection. This is especially important when using public Wi-Fi networks, as they are often less secure than private networks. Make sure to only use VPNs from trusted providers and make sure employees are aware of the importance of using a VPN when working remotely.
8. Turn off remote administration
Disabling remote administration is another best practice for securing wireless networks. With remote administration enabled, it allows anyone with the right credentials to access the router’s configuration page and make changes to the network. This can be a security risk, as it gives unauthorized individuals the ability to gain access to the network. To disable remote administration, go to your wireless router’s configuration page and disable the feature. This will help prevent unauthorized access to the network.
9. Change default password
Changing the default password is another best practice for securing wireless networks. Many routers have default passwords that are easy to guess. This can be a security risk, as it gives unauthorized individuals the ability to gain access to the network.
To change the default password, go to your wireless router’s configuration page and change the password to something more difficult to guess. Make sure to choose a strong password that is at least 8 characters long and includes a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
10. Use a firewall
Using a firewall is another best practice for securing wireless networks. Firewalls help protect the network by blocking unauthorized incoming traffic. This can be especially important in preventing malware and other malware attacks.
To use the firewall, go to your wireless router’s configuration page and enable it. There are generally two types of firewalls: network-based and server-based. Network-based firewalls are commonly used in business environments, while server-based firewalls can be used on individual devices.
11. Turn off UPnP
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a protocol that allows devices to automatically discover and connect to each other. This can be a security risk, as it gives unauthorized devices the ability to gain access to the network. To disable UPnP, go to your wireless router’s configuration page and disable it. You can also disable UPnP on individual devices by accessing the settings menu.
12. Turn off unnecessary services
You often find that routers come with some unnecessary services enabled. These can be a security risk, as they can provide potential attackers with information about the network. To turn off unnecessary services, go to your wireless router’s configuration page and turn off any unnecessary services. This will help reduce the attack surface of the network. Common non-essential services include things like telnet, SSH, and HTTP.
Implementing these best practices for securing wireless networks is critical to protecting the network from potential attacks. By disabling unnecessary services, changing default passwords, and enabling two-factor authentication, you can make it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to access the network.
Additionally, using a firewall and disabling UPnP can also help protect the network. By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your wireless network is secure.