Wi-Fi security has evolved to the point that most routers are configured to be secure, with strong passwords, encryption methods, built-in firewalls and other security measures, designed to protect you against malicious attacks. But what happens when these encryption methods fail?
This is exactly what happened after Belgian researchers from the University of Leuven in 2017 managed to break the WPA2 security protocol.
WPA2 is a mechanism used to protect the majority of Wi-Fi connections in the world, it is the most secure method available for general use; which had the effect of a bomb at the time.
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In this tutorial, we present you all the means to secure your Wi-Fi network against hackers.
How to protect your data if Wi-Fi is not secure?
The fact that the WPA2 protocol could have been hacked is rather worrying because it affects many consumer devices, but there is no need to panic.
In fact, researchers have highlighted a bug in the Wi-Fi standard which makes wireless traffic vulnerable and accessible at possible malicious cost.
In other words, anyone can use this loophole to view your Internet activities and grab credit card numbers, passwords, instant messages, emails, photos, etc.
The good news is that most devices have since been updated or corrected.
Whatever it is, WPA2 does not guarantee the security of your internet connection and your data.
To begin with, a Wi-Fi attack must be carried out on the network in question, and it is likely that you are sending a large amount of encrypted information anyway. What hackers cannot decrypt, even with access to your Wi-Fi network.
In addition, the HTTPS protocol used on many websites adds an additional layer of protection, as does the use of a VPN service, such as NordVPN or Hidden24.
This is why you should pay particular attention to the padlock icon in the address bar of your browser, as in the image below.
If the padlock is not visible, then this means that the site does not use HTTPS, so it is possible that the data you enter is visible to other people.
Before entering your address, your payment details and clicking on "Send", first make sure the padlock is there.
To return these fixes and updates, Microsoft released a fix for Windows devices on October 10, 2017 (which applies with automatic updates). around the same time, Apple also corrected the vulnerability of its macOS and iOS systems.
Google released security updates for Android devices in November 2017.
See the section about your phone or tablet settings to find out when the last security update took place.
If your smartphone is running Android 6 or a version prior to November 2017, update it or buy a new model.
Wireless routers are rarely updated, just like home automation devices, but it's always a good idea to make sure that updates have been installed.
Your device's firmware or software version must be later than October 2017.
Which wireless security standard should I use?
Modern routers typically have a Wi-Fi password set by default, and this is used for various protocols to encrypt data sent over the web.
Here are some terms to know:
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was the standard in 1997 when the Wi-Fi 802.11 standard was introduced. It is now considered unsafe and was replaced in 2003 by the WPA using the TKIP encryption method.
The Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) is also in soft stop, but unlike WEP, it is still present in most modern routers.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) was introduced shortly after TKIP in 2004, along with WPA2, the new WPA standard.
Choose this level of encryption if possible, but note that your wireless devices will also need to support it to be able to speak to your router (most do, but some less recent kits may not).
Despite the aforementioned hacking, the WPA2 standard remains the best way to secure Wi-Fi.
Today's router manufacturers and ISPs typically use WPA2 by default; some prefer a combination of WPA2 and WPA to ensure compatibility with the widest range of wireless devices.
You can also see an option with the suffix "-PSK" which is the abbreviation for Pre-Shared-Key or Personal Shared Key. If the choice is offered to you then prefer WPA2-PSK (AES) WPA2-PSK (TKIP).
If some devices cannot connect to it, then select WPA2-PSK (TKIP); it still uses new WPA2 encryption while allowing old devices that may be blocked by TKIP to connect to your router. It may be listed as WPA2-PSK (mixed mode).
Note that a new standard, WPA3, is starting to be deployed with new routers, offering more security than WPA2 and correcting the main vulnerabilities. However, these routers and compatible devices are still far from sufficient.
How to secure your WiFi?
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup, and it was created to make it easier to configure Wi-Fi connections securely. This standard looks perfect, but it creates an easier entry point for hackers, with an eight-digit PIN code it's easy to hack using sophisticated techniques.
The easiest way to know if WPS is activated is to look on your router or on the box that comes with it, you will see a separate logo and a physical button located on your router. It will allow you to turn it off, especially if you think you won't need it.
If you are still unsure, you can go to the settings of your router, for this you just type 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 (this may vary depending on your ISP and the manufacturer of the router) in the URL bar and by logging into your router's admin panel.
Change administrator password
Now that you are logged into your router's settings, you may also see an option to change the login details for the router's administrator.
We recommend that you change this option, as it is easy to use and protects you from anyone who wants to change your router settings.
Some routers (but usually not those provided by your ISP) are always provided with a generic username and password, usually "admin" and "password".
If you change these settings, it will become much more difficult and almost impossible to hack your router.
. (tagsToTranslate) Wi-Fi security; wireless connection (t) house-connected (t) computers (t) table-of-contents