Last Updated on April 6, 2021 by Calvin C.
In this article, I have decided to give you a rundown of 12 proven ways on how to secure your internet connection. This is mainly focused on general protection from the bad guys in a home WiFi network.
Background of internet security
Of course, if you want to be more granular, there are specific topics that have been covered in other posts, some of which are:
When your device is connected to the internet, there is always a risk that your privacy and security is compromised.
In this digital age, your personal data is very valuable to advertisers and businesses.
Once your preferences are captured, it’s easy to show you targeted Ads and this is one form of subconscious manipulation employed by these online businesses.
On the other hand, hackers use all sorts of tactics to get hold of your personal data like login credentials.
They can use this information to steal from you or even attack unsuspecting victims as they masquerade as you.
- Got no time? Use a VPN to hide your identity online and we recommend NordVPN
20 ways to secure your connection
1. Always use a VPN
The first tool that should come to your mind when you think about internet privacy and security is a VPN.
Not just any VPN, because there are VPN services out there that log your activities secretly and have serious security flaws.
A reliable VPN should have all these standard features:
- At a glance, these are the best VPN services:
Using a VPN is perfectly legal in most countries and it gives you internet freedom.
If you want to learn more about a VPN and how it works make sure you read the introductory article.
2. Make sure your router password is strong
WiFi Routers are shipped with a default password and you have to change it before use.
Hackers can easily get the default password online and gain access to any connected devices.
Nowadays, a secure password must have at least 12 characters that include capital letter, special character and a number.
Make sure you never use any password that falls under this list of dumb passwords.
The easiest way to generate a very strong password is by using a password manager like NordPass.
A password manager automatically creates a long, complex password and you don’t have to memorize it.
The password is stored in a cloud-based vault, encrypted so that no-one can view it.
You can start using NordPass for free by using the link below to sign up.
3. Keep your devices up-to-date
In most cases, manufacturers address security vulnerabilities on devices by rolling out periodic firmware updates.
Make sure you keep your devices up-to-date, be it a router, mobile device or computer.
If you can’t do it manually, it’s best to set the updates to automatic so that you don’t miss any updates.
Usually, hackers try to find holes in old operating systems so if you lag behind, chances of cyberattacks are high.
An up-to-date device means a more reliable device so do the right thing.
4. Make sure there are no DNS leaks
A DNS leak is one way in which an ISP is able to see the sites you visit even when you think you are anonymous.
This happens when you use a VPN that is not fully secure as described in (1) above.
You can check for DNS leaks using this free tool and if your actual IP address is displayed it means there is a DNS leak.
To stop DNS leaks, simple use one of the best VPN services.
5. Use a secure VPN protocol
There are several VPN protocols and two of them are the most secure, WireGuard and OpenVPN.
WireGuard is relatively new, lightweight, fast and secure.
Top VPN services like NordVPN support all these superior VPN protocols.
Dodgy VPNs use obsolete, less secure protocols like SSTP, L2TP or PPTP.
Take the guesswork out of the selection, only use top recommended VPNs and you are covered.
6. Don’t use a router from your ISP
At some point, I tried a cheap router supplied by my ISP and the firmware was never updated.
That type of routers is made in China and the firmware is not secure, so I ditched it.
Consider getting an open source router that has excellent reviews and is updated regularly.
One excellent router you can buy is Turris MOX router, which you can get on Amazon.
7. Change your router’s IP address
Some automated cyberattacks take advantage of the default local IP address of your router and it can be 192.168.0.1
Change this IP address so that your router is not vulnerable to a CSRF attack (cross-site request forgery).
There are router exploit kits in circulation so it is important to make sure you are not exposed to this form of cyberattack.
8. Secure your SSID
You should not use a network SSID that reveals your name, location or the name of your device.
This information is used by an attacker especially if you are already a target.
To change the SSID you need to log in the admin panel and to access it you enter the specific IP address:
- ATT&T router 192.168.1.254
- Linksys router 192.168.1.1
- Netgear router http://www.routerlogin.com
- Other routers 192.168.0.1
Once you successfully log in, look for the option to change your SSID.
Don’t choose a name that provokes attackers like “Can’tHackMe” etc
In some cases, you may want to hide your SSID to attract less attention.
9. Disable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)
Routers have a WPS option that you can use to connect to the Wi-Fi network faster and easier.
Although it is convenient, it presents security issue that can be exploited by cyberattackers.
The best way to reduce exposure is to disable the function.
10. Manage WiFi range
There is a temptation to crank up the WiFi range to the maximum even when it is unnecessary.
If you live in a small space, there is no need to let the signal be picked up accross the street.
This only increases the attack range and this means more opportunities for hackers.
You can easily adjust the WiFi range of your router in the control panel.
11. Disable cloud-based management of admin panel
Avoid accessing the admin panel of your router remotely as it greatly increases the attack surface.
Use the incognito mode of your browser so that no cookies are stored in your browser.
You also need to disable accessing the admin panel over WiFi because if attackers gain access into your WiFi network, considerable damage can be done.
Instead, only access the panel when using an Ethernet connection.
12. Close unused ports
There are tools that help you identify unused ports on your router.
Unused ports can act as entry points by hackers so make sure you identify them and close them.
These are the 12 ways in which you can secure your internet connection and connected devices.
Make sure all you traffic is routed via a VPN when you are online and this is crucial when working with sensitive data.
- The overall best VPN is NordVPN
- 30-day free-trial
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 68% off a 2-year plan (Recommend Plan)
- Has all the essential security features
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