How to Improve Your Router and Modem Security?

The importance of router and modem security is even more relevant in the age of cloud computing. Today, much of our data is stored in the cloud, this can be personal and work data. With the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, properly securing your router is an essential and critical step to protect this data and your devices.

By not securing these devices, you risk exposing your personal information, sensitive work data, and even your smart home devices to potential cyber threats.

The good news is that a few simple precautions and steps can greatly enhance your router security. Here we consider four simple ways to improve your router and modem security.

1. Change the Default Password

While there are differences between routers and modems, they both have password protection to help prevent unauthorized access. The problem is that they tend to ship with the same default password and many users will never bother (or know) to change these.

This can allow malicious individuals easy access to your router simply by identifying the model, which is easy, and using the default password to gain access to your router, devices, and data.

How you change the password varies from router to router. However, there are usually instructions with the router that explain the steps. In the absence of these, then the following steps will work in most instances:

  1. Find the default password: This is often printed underneath the router or a quick web search is usually enough (which testifies to why changing your password is so important).
  2. Login to the router configuration screen: This can be done by entering the IP address of the router into the address bar of any browser. If you don’t know the IP address, open a Windows command prompt and type – “ipconfig”. Look for the IP address listed as the default gateway, this is usually the IP address of the router.
  3. Change the password: Some routers will prompt you to change the password when you first login, others you may have to look for this in the settings.

This one simple step is an easy way to greatly enhance the security of a router and should be considered the first thing to address with any new router.

2. Secure Your Wi-Fi Passwords

Just as it's crucial to change your router's default password, it's equally important to secure your Wi-Fi passwords. Proper Wi-Fi security is essential to protect your router. A weak Wi-Fi password can be an open invitation for cybercriminals to infiltrate your network, potentially gaining access to your personal information and devices.

To secure your Wi-Fi passwords, consider the following steps:

  • Use a strong password: A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Change it regularly: Changing your Wi-Fi password periodically can help keep your network secure.
  • Enable WPA3 encryption: When setting up your Wi-Fi network, make sure to use the latest encryption standard, WPA3, if your router supports it.

By securing your Wi-Fi passwords, you add an extra layer of protection to your network, making it harder for unauthorized individuals to gain access.

3. Consider Disabling Wi-Fi

Yes we know, Wi-Fi is ultra-convenient when it comes to connecting to routers. However, it's not always the most secure option. Wi-Fi signals can be intercepted and, if not properly secured, can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to your network. Therefore, whenever possible, opt for wired connections.

There are several compelling reasons why disabling Wi-Fi is a sensible precaution where it is an option:

  • Enhanced Security: Wired connections, such as Ethernet, are inherently more secure than wireless ones. They require physical access to the network, making them less susceptible to the types of attacks that wireless networks face.
  • Stable Connection: Wired connections offer more stability and can often provide faster speeds.
  • Reduced Interference: Wired connections are not subject to the same interference that can affect Wi-Fi signals.

Maybe not the most convenient of options, but if it's possible then it’s highly recommended.

4. Limit Physical Access to Your Router

This one has particular relevance to businesses. While there are huge resources thrown at ensuring strong cybersecurity measures are in place, the role of physical security is often overlooked. However, physical data breaches account for up to 10% of all cybercrime, which nicely illustrates the importance of physical security.

This is why it is crucial to limit physical access to your router and modem. Keep these devices in a secure location, preferably in a locked room or cabinet. Regularly check for any signs of tampering. Also, consider implementing a cyber and physical IP access control system to monitor and manage who has access to your network devices.

By ensuring both digital and physical security, you create a comprehensive defense against a wide range of potential threats, safeguarding your network and the valuable data it carries.

Simple Steps to a More Secure Router

Router security in the age of cloud computing is more critical than ever. By following these guidelines you can go a long way to making sure your personal and business data and systems are not compromised.

Spending a little time doing some due diligence on your router security can save a lot of grief and heartache.