Information Security

Is Your Weak WiFi Security Putting You at Risk of Being Hacked?

If you’ve ever had ‘weak security’ come up on your WiFi network and you aren’t sure what it means, you’re not alone. Many people aren’t aware that their WiFi network isn’t secure or they aren’t sure how to fix it. 

Cyber attacks and hacking are becoming more and more common as the world becomes largely online. The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that for the year ending March 2018 around 4.5 million cyber attacks were committed over a 12 month period.

Why does my WiFi say weak security?

If your device is getting an error message saying it has weak security then this means your WiFi encryption security is weaker than desirable. It’s likely that your network security settings are not set to WPA2 (AES) or WPA3. 

Before you can change the settings on your router you should ensure your devices have the latest software updates and your router has the latest firmware update, which you can do by going to your router manufacturer’s website and searching for your model.

How do I check if my network is secure?

The first and easiest way to see if your WiFi router has a secure connection is to try to log in to your network on a new device that has never logged in before (or select ‘forget network’ on your device that has already connected to it). If it asks you for a password the connection should be secure, if it doesn’t then it’s open and anyone can log in.

But unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. As some unlucky people have found out the hard way, just having a password isn’t always enough to stop hackers. 

The BBC recently reported about a family who were accused of a very serious crime involving images of child abuse. They eventually concluded that someone had probably hacked into their home network connection despite them having a password on it.

How you can fix weak security on your WiFi

Choose a strong password

While many internet providers nowadays use unique passwords for each router, one of the easiest ways that you can increase the security of your router is to change your original factory-set password to a strong unique password.

It’s also good to get into the routine of changing your passwords regularly. Although it will mean having to reconnect your devices again, it will greatly decrease the chances of you being hacked.

Use a secure VPN

Another well-known way to increase the security of your network connection is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). When installed on your devices, a VPN makes browsing safer and more secure.

It works on any wireless network whether in your home or on a public open network. They create a secure, encrypted connection that ensures the privacy of the data and shields the browser from possible hacking.

Purge networks you don’t need from your preferred networks list

If you’ve had your device for a while, chances are you’ve got a long list of networks that your device automatically trusts. While this is handy for when you reconnect to the same networks often, it’s a good idea to delete networks that you don’t connect to regularly.

For example, if you connect to “Free Airport WiFi” in Heathrow and then you go to Gatwick and there’s a network with the same name, your device will automatically connect to it and any other open network with the same name. For a hacker, this makes it much easier for them to track nearby devices and conduct attacks.

Disable auto-connect when joining networks

For secure WiFi networks that you frequently join, you can limit the risk of your device connecting to a malicious network by disabling auto-connect. By checking the ‘disable auto-connect’ box when you first connect to a new network, it prevents your device from connecting to any other networks with the same name. 

You’ll need to click the name of the network each time you want to join it but you won’t have to type in the password

How can I stay cyber secure at home and at work?

With cybercrime on the rise, it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to stay secure online both at work and at home.

CyberCrowd offers an Infosec Training Platform that empowers employees to stay cyber safe through comprehensive industry-leading training. Contact us today to find out how your team could benefit.