Hacking into a wireless network is easier than you might think. And changing default passwords isn’t enough. With a recent report finding vulnerabilities in several bestselling home routers, it’s now even more important to ramp up your defences. So follow these 7 tips to keep hackers at bay.

Update firmware regularly

Routers don’t download the latest software automatically like computers. If a manufacturer finds a security flaw and addresses it with new firmware, it’s your responsibility to download and install it. Log in to your router and scan for updates ASAP.

Scary Network Name

Change the SSID

If an attacker knows the brand of your router, it makes their life much easier. Switch it to anything you want, as long as it doesn’t contain any personal information. We encourage something along the lines of lifehacker’s discouraging network name.


Scrap the SSID

Alternatively, your SSID can be hidden. This means that it will no longer be visible on Wi-Fi scans. You will have to manually enter it to add devices to your network though.

Firewall on

You’ll no doubt have a software firewall on your Mac or PC. A hardware firewall on your router is an added layer of protection against unauthorised use. It’s usually switched on by default, but check in case it isn’t.

Wireless MAC Filter

To stop any devices other than your own connecting to the network, enable your router’s MAC filter. It only lets devices whose MAC addresses have been manually entered to connect. Cumbersome perhaps, but worth the extra hassle.

Disable wireless administrating

If router settings can only be changed with a wired connection, wireless hacking becomes pretty impossible.

Monitor your network

Monitoring applications like Observium let you know who and what is using your network. Fing (for iOS and Android) is a mobile equivalent which reports all the vital details, such as IP addresses and hostnames. Both are free, so there’s no reason not to download them now.

Photos by:elhombredenegro and Satish Krishnamurthy