Wi-Fi networks some of the most vulnerable portals that can easily be used to steal your data. Here’s how you can protect yourself from hackers and why you need to.
Hackers are always on the lookout for easy ways to infiltrate your devices and gain access to your personal information. Most of us are pretty oblivious to the reality of this threat and we simply aren’t protected enough to ensure that our personal data isn’t being taken, sold, or used for something more malicious.
If you’re not using a VPN, then you’re probably already being used to make someone else money in ways that you wouldn’t be happy with if you found out about it. Learning to hack a Wi-Fi network is actually a very basic skill that doesn’t require a super-computer or a wealth of techy know-how. It simply requires someone with a laptop sitting down for a few hours and learning how to do it.
With that in mind, think about how much of your personal information – from medical records to bank details to your identity and location – you’re constantly throwing this information out into the void via your Wi-Fi network. The same network that we now know can be hacked by a teenager with a laptop and a curious mind.
Why do people want to hack your Wi-Fi?
We should probably mention first of all that you can take an online course on how to hack a Wi-Fi connection for as little as $18. In fact, you can also learn to do it for free if you browse the web for a couple of hours. So it’s not like the threat of having your Wi-Fi network hacked isn’t real. It might not be the FSB or some shady doomsday organization – it might just be the antisocial kid who lives next door.
There are various ways to hack someone’s Wi-Fi. First of all, someone might just want to crack your password so that they can use your bandwidth. While this is inconvenient, it actually provides the least threat to you and is little more than an inconvenience. If you suspect that someone is doing this, then all you need to do is log everyone out of your Wi-Fi, change the password, and then log back in again. Simples.
People may also want to hack your Wi-Fi so that they can access your personal information. This could be so that they can sell it on to third-parties who will use it to target you with ads, or it may be so that they can try to steal your identity, access you bank account, or gain access to your social media accounts and so on.
Hackers can access your network and then see your login details – this is easily done if you use those details on HTTP websites. With this information, they can then access your accounts and everything in them. How much information do you share on your messenger accounts? How about your email? You’re starting to get the picture.
Protecting your Wi-Fi network
The best way to protect your Wi-Fi network from being hacked is to get a VPN and connect it to your computer, your phone, and your Wi-Fi router. There are also other steps that you should take to protect yourself. A recent Avast scan of 4.3 million routers in the UK found that 48% were vulnerable.
CHANGE THE PASSWORD: First thing is first, you should go into your Wi-Fi configuration settings and change your admin password. You should also change the username if this is an option. Basically, the longer and more complex your password, the harder it is for hackers to get into your system. They don’t need to know your password, they just need to crack your password. For this reason, we recommend that you go for at least 25 characters of upper and lower case letters, plus numbers and symbols.
Of course, you’ll need to keep a copy of the password somewhere, but realistically you’re only going to need it once anyway so long as other people don’t want to connect to it. A little goes a long way.
CHANGE THE SSID NAME: The service set identifier (SSID) is the name that your router shows to the rest of the world. This is usually the name of the manufacturer plus some other numbers. You can change this to make a hacker’s day harder. Also, seeing as most people don’t bother doing this, it does show a hacker that you have some idea of what you’re doing when it comes to security. This means you’re more likely to deter trouble.
TURN OFF WPS: WPS means Wi-Fi Protected Setup. It’s an eight number PIN that is very vulnerable to brute force attacks. You can turn this off by going into your Wi-Fi configuration settings, pressing the Wireless Settings, and turning off WPS.
The 8 number code is set up with the first four, and the last three numbers, as single-sequence, with the last being a check one. This means that rather than millions of combinations, WPS PINs actually have closer to 10,000 combinations. This makes them very vulnerable.
USE A VPN: A VPN – or virtual private network – encrypts all traffic coming in and out of your router and masks your real IP address, making your router invisible to the outside world. This is the most effective way to secure your Wi-Fi connection.
A good VPN costs less than $10 per month. We recommend ExpressVPN, OpenVPN, or Avast Secureline VPN. All of these are reputable options that use 256bit military-grade encryption. If a hacker wants to get their hands on your information, then they’ll have an impossible time doing so if you’re using a VPN. It’s worth noting that there are many free VPN services out there – we don’t recommend these as it costs a lot of money to keep VPN servers running, so those companies are likely taking your personal data and selling it to fund their free service.