Wi-Fi security has evolved to the point that most modern routers are configured to be secure with strong passwords, encryption methods, built-in firewalls, and other security measures designed to protect you from malicious attacks. But what happens when those encryption methods are broken?
That is exactly what has happened after Belgian researchers at the KU University of Leuven broke the WPA2 security protocol in 2017. WPA2 is used to protect most of the world's Wi-Fi connections because it is the safest method available for use. Overall, so it was great news at the time.
But while the researchers managed to crack the WPA2 protocol, there's little to worry about. Below, we describe all the ways to secure your Wi-Fi network against possible hackers.
How can I protect my data if the wifi is not secure?
The fact that WPA2 has been hacked is alarming news and affects many consumer devices, but there is no reason to panic.
In essence, the researchers exposed a bug in the Wi-Fi standard that leaves wireless traffic vulnerable to eavesdropping with malicious intent.
In other words, anyone could use the bug to see what they are doing on the Internet and get credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and more.
The good news is that most of the devices have been patched or updated to correct the error. And in any case, it is not usually only WPA2 that guarantees security between a hacker and your data.
For starters, a Wi-Fi attack must be within range of the network in question, but chances are you're still sending a lot of encrypted information over the Internet, and that's something hackers can't read, even with access to your wifi network
In addition, the https protocol used on many websites adds an extra layer of protection, as would the use of a VPN service like NordVPN or Hidden24. (Read our summary of the best VPNs for more information).
Therefore, you should especially take into account the padlock icon in the address bar of your browser. If the padlock is not visible, indicating that the site is not using https, then there is a chance that any data you enter will be visible to others.
So if you are about to enter your address and payment details and hit submit, make sure the padlock is there first.
Going back to those patches and updates, Microsoft released a fix for Windows devices on October 10, 2017 (which would have been applied if you're using automatic updates). Apple also patched the vulnerability for MacOS and iOS at about the same time.
Google released security updates for Android devices in November 2017, so check the About section of your phone settings or tablet the date of the last security update. If it is before November 2017 and your phone works with Android 6 or earlier, you must update or pick up a new phone.
Wireless routers are seldom updated, as are smart home devices, but it's worth checking if you can install an update for your gadgets individuals.
Some may update automatically, so just check that the version date of firmware or software Your device is recent and not earlier than October 2017.
What wireless security standard should I use?
Modern routers usually have a wifi, a default password, which is used in various protocols to encrypt the data you send over the web. Here are some of the terms used for consumer Wi-Fi:
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was the norm in 1997 when the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard was introduced. It is now considered insecure and was replaced in 2003 by WPA via the TKIP encryption method.
The Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) is also being phased out now, but unlike WEP, it is still seen on most modern routers.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) was introduced shortly after TKIP in 2004 along with WPA2, the new and improved WPA standard. Select this level of encryption whenever possible, but be aware that your wireless devices will also need to support it to be able to talk to their router (most do, but some older computers may not).
Despite the aforementioned hacking, it goes on to say that WPA2 is the best way to secure wifi. Today, manufacturers of routers and Internet service providers often use WPA2 by default; some use a combination of WPA2 and WPA to ensure compatibility with the widest range of wireless kits.
You can also see an option with the suffix '-PSK' which is short for Pre-Shared-Key or Personal Shared Key. If offered the option, choose WPA2-PSK (AES) instead of WPA2-PSK (TKIP), but if some old devices can't connect, choose WPA2-PSK (TKIP); continue to use the new WPA2 encryption and allow them to connect to your router old devices that may be stuck with TKIP. You may find it listed as WPA2-PSK (mixed mode).
Note that a new standard, WPA3, is just beginning to roll out on new routers, which offer more security than WPA2 and fix major vulnerabilities, but these routers, and supported devices, are still rare.
How to protect your wifi
WPS is the acronym for Wifi Protected Setup, and was created to facilitate the configuration of Wi-Fi connections. It sounds great, but it creates an easier entry point for kids. hackers – With an eight digit PIN it is easy to hack through brute force techniques.
The easiest way to find out if you have WPS enabled is to look in the router or in the box it comes with, as it often has a distinctive logo and a physical button located on the router. It is a good practice to disable it, especially if you think you will never use it.
If you are still not sure, you can enter the settings of the router, normally accessed by typing 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 address bar and log in to the admin panel of the router.
Change administrator password
As you have already logged in to the configuration of the router, You can also see an option to change the administrator login data of the router. We recommend that you change it, since it is very simple and protects you from someone wanting to play with the router.
Some routers (although they are not usually those provided by your Internet service provider) they still have a generic username and password, usually admin and password. If you change this, it will be much more difficult and almost impossible to hack the administration panel of the router.
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