Are you in charge of managing the Wi-Fi network in your workplace?
As we move into 2023, it’s important for South African businesses to stay up to date with cybersecurity best practices. The growth and development of technology continue at an ever-faster pace, so it’s imperative for your network to be secure and protected from cyberattacks.
In this article, we discuss actionable strategies for keeping your Wi-Fi network safe and secure.
Change the Default Username and Password
Many routers come with simple default usernames and passwords. For example, “admin” and “password,” which can be easily exploited by hackers. Once a hacker has logged in to your router, they can change network settings and potentially gain access to sensitive business data.
To change the default username and password for your router, you will first need to access the router’s web interface. This is typically done by opening a web browser and entering the router’s IP address into the address bar (the default IP address is usually provided in the router’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website). Once you’ve logged in, you can access the router’s settings page and change the default login credentials.
When creating a new username and password, follow these guidelines. Remember to change your login credentials every few months, and avoid reusing the same password on multiple accounts or systems.
Store the Router in a Secure Location
Keep the physical router and other networking devices behind lock and key to prevent unauthorized access and potential tampering. This is ideally a locked cabinet or the server room.
Regularly Upgrade the Router Firmware
Router firmware is the embedded software that runs on your router. Manufacturers regularly release updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and patch security vulnerabilities.
At least monthly, check for and apply any available updates to keep your router firmware up-to-date. Ideally, these updates should be allowed to run automatically.
Employ a Network Firewall and VPN
A firewall is a software or hardware solution that helps to protect your network from unauthorized access by controlling incoming and outgoing traffic. Whilst a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the internet so that you can access the network’s resources remotely. This will give you another layer of security to protect your network and your data.
Conduct Wi-Fi Penetration Testing
Wi-Fi Penetration Testing is the process of testing your wireless network security by simulating a cyberattack against it. Perform them annually, and after making major changes to your Wi-Fi infrastructure.
This allows you to identify any vulnerabilities in your network so that you can take steps to fix them. Conducting a pen test is a complex task and should only be done by a cybersecurity professional. Consider hiring a cybersecurity firm or a managed IT service provider.
Rapid-Fire Bonus Tips:
- Use WPA3 encryption: WPA3 is the latest and most secure Wi-Fi security protocol available. It offers stronger encryption and better protection against hacking attempts compared to WPA2. Ensure your Wi-Fi devices use WPA3. If not, investing in new equipment might be necessary.
- Use a separate wireless network for guest access: Visitors to the office are more likely to be untrusted. It’s thus a good idea to set up a separate wireless network for guests who need internet access. This keeps your internal network and data more secure and separated.
- Disable remote management: Unless it’s absolutely necessary, it’s best to disable remote management of your router. This will help to prevent attackers from accessing your router via the internet.
- Regularly monitor network activity: Keep an eye on your network’s activity by monitoring logs and using network monitoring tools. This will help you to detect and respond to any suspicious activity on your network.
- Use wireless intrusion detection and prevention systems (WIDS/WIPS): WIDS and WIPS are specialized systems that are designed to detect and prevent wireless intrusions. They can help to identify rogue access points, prevent wireless spoofing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other Wi-Fi threats.
- Train your employees: Your employees play a key role in network security. Ensure they are aware of the importance of cybersecurity and are repeatedly trained on how to spot and report suspicious activity.
- Have an incident response plan in place: In the event of a security breach, it’s essential to have a plan in place for how to respond. This plan should include identifying the scope of the incident, containing the problem, and taking steps to prevent it from happening again in the future.
- Use 2-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide two forms of authentication, such as a password and a fingerprint, in order to access the network. This makes it much more difficult for an attacker to gain access.