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Protect your WiFi Against Hackers: And your Own Ignorance

The magic that is WiFi is something that most people barely understand, let alone appreciate. I mean seriously, it’s invisible waves of information floating all around you, how awesome is that?!?…I digress. This lack of understanding is the greatest threat against your security, and is a reason why you need to read this article and protect your WiFi against hackers.

Your average hacker is no more knowledgable than your average ‘white hat’ hacker. The problem is that there are only so many white hat hackers in the world. This has opened the door for hackers who can easily exploit those who just don’t know any better. Credit card theft, social media profile takeovers, session hijacking, and identity theft are the result.

Here are five ways to protect your WiFi against hackers, and learn something about those magic invisible waves of information floating around you!

How to Protect your WiFi against hackers

Not all encryption is equal

You read the packaging on your router you bought years ago and it said something like:

“Protected by WEP encryption”

And you thought that you were safe forever. Well, that encryption can now be cracked by nearly anyone within minutes. WEP is the wet underwear of web encryption, and you need to protect yourself better than that!

The newer and strong form of encryption for routers is WPA2 encryption. Visit the website of your router manufacturer for details on how to upgrade, check out this WPA2 setup tutorial, or purchase a current router with WPA2 already set up.

Not all VPN encryption is equal

Over in an article on VPN encryption protocols I discussed the strengths and weakness of various encryption protocols used. The one which was mentioned as weakest was PPTP. I’d like to take a minute here to emphasize how weak PPTP encryption is, but I’m going to do it with a little help from a Twitter friend:

The link shown is to a site that makes PPTP cracking a forgone conclusion. I personally use OpenVPN encryption, and most of our Top Ten VPN providers have this level of encryption. This newer level of encryption will keep you safe, and free from derp moments.

The MAC filter pwns all unauthorized access

stealing your wifisEvery wireless router has a MAC filter on it. MAC address are the unique codes on every piece of hardware. The filter prevents unauthorized access by giving you the ability to permit or deny access from devices that don’t have familiar MAC addresses. If the router doesn’t know your device’s MAC address, you’re denied.

This sounds like a great way to protect your WiFi against hackers, but then the problem of spoofing comes up. Hackers can eavesdrop on wireless traffic, find a MAC address, and spoof it with the device, and your WiFi is pwned.

The proprietor of this fine establishment has made sure that their WiFi is protected!

Public WiFi is ripe with man-in-the-middle and Fake WAP attacks. We’ve talked about Fake WAPs before here on the Best VPNs blog, but I wanted to bring them up again while I had your attention.

Hacker tools like Firesheep and AirJack make these attacks easy. It inserts a hacker between you and the WiFi router, and they’re free to read your emails, steal your passwords, and enjoy your dirtiest communications with that hottie you picked up at the bar last night.

A VPN can secure your WiFi connection in public settings by encrypting everything you do over your WiFi connection. This prevents anyone from being able to read anything that they steal from you as the information will be scrambled (read; encrypted) to an indecipherable level. It will make things so difficult for your average hacker that they’ll just move on to the next sucker who has no protection.

Disabling the remote administration feature will protect your WiFi against hackers

Most WiFi routers have a setting on them which allows you to change the settings themselves via WiFi. Having this on means that you don’t need to physically plug your computer into the router via the Ethernet cable. I know, it’s convenient to do it wirelessly, but it is also convenient for your average hacker too.

Take a minute to turn this feature off so that a hacker will have to add ‘ninja-sneaking into your house and plugging into your router’ to their list of things required to hack your WiFi. 99.9% will not bother to go through with this, but 80% will put on the ninja clothes to see how it feels.

protect your wifi from a ninja

It feels pretty good.

 

Feature image via doomu / Shutterstock

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