With all of your Internet-connected gadgets, your WiFi router serves as a gate to that kingdom. A watchful eye is also required.

Unfortunately, router upkeep isn’t always at the top of our priority lists, let alone at the bottom.

When Zulfikar Ramzan, the company’s chief scientist, says he helped discover a new type of cyberattack in 2007, he’s talking about Hackers could hijack a victim’s online traffic by tricking him or her into visiting a single webpage, which would allow them to change the settings on the routers that connect all of the victim’s electronic devices to the Internet. Fifteen years after those attacks, people are still making the same security mistake that led to them, failing to reset the default password on their home routers, he claims.

With routers, I think people assume they’re safe.” It’s never even crossed anyone’s mind. Ramzan added, “But they can also act as a conduit for information.

Cybersecurity experts say routers can be hacked within minutes of going online. Some cybercriminals use the router’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, and to raise your electricity bill at the same time. Those who have gained remote access to your computers through the use of your router often make off with your data. Even connected devices like smart TVs can display bogus error messages urging you to call an imposter’s customer service number.

With a little bit of routine router maintenance, you can avoid most of these dangers. CSO at Phosphorus Cybersecurity says it only takes one day a year to maintain security.

When it comes to the risks of not doing anything, “Maybe on April Fools’ Day every year I’ll take a look and see if there are any updates or changes that I need to worry about,” Contos said.

You can use the following checklist to keep an eye on your home router.

1. Set a strong password

Your router likely came with a pre-set password. Hackers can gain remote access to your network if you don’t change the password.

If you purchased your router, you may be able to reset the password using a companion app that came with it.

Change your password online even if you are renting from your Internet service provider. Look for the router’s IP address, which is usually printed on the device’s packaging or manual. Sets of four numbers, separated by periods, will be used.) Go to your browser’s search bar and enter the IP address. To set a new password, click on the link that appears.

Choose a strong password that you’ve never used before. Strong passwords are at least 12 characters long, contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special symbols, and aren’t tied to any information about you that could be guessed. As a result, no pets’ names will be mentioned here. In addition, “password123” is a no-go.)

Last but not least, make a note of your unique password in a safe place — we suggest using a password manager like Dashlane, LastPass, or 1Password for this purpose. Contos opined that it was unnecessary to change the password regularly. Once a year is more than enough.

2. Update the software

Like your smartphone’s operating system, the “firmware” on your router must be updated regularly.

Turn on your router’s automatic updates if they are available. Because new updates are usually packed with security fixes, you don’t have to keep track of them.

Updates can be found in that same location where you reset your password.

3. Consider an upgrade — or get your own router

To be on the safe side, Contos recommends replacing a router that is three to four years old. More secure radio frequencies for your WiFi to travel on and easier management tools are all part of the new systems, according to him, which come with better encryption options. Your outdated system may also be a source of risk. According to Contos, the worst-case scenario is that the hardware no longer receives critical security updates because it is no longer supported.

Consider purchasing your router rather than renting one from your Internet service provider, he advised. If updates aren’t completely automatic, a router purchased from an electronics store should come with additional security features and an easier interface for updating passwords and software.

4. Don’t reveal personal details in your network name

Keep your SSID, or network name, free of last names, home addresses, apartment numbers, and phone numbers. According to Contos, this provides strangers with far more information than they need.

Also, don’t keep the network name that comes with your router, especially if it reveals the model and manufacturer of the device. If a hacker is looking for routers with outdated software or specific default passwords, this helps them out greatly.

5. Don’t forget your other connected devices

The router is the entry point to your home network, but there is a slew of other devices connected to it that could be exploited for cyberattacks, according to Ramzan. Data collected by his company shows that the average household has 50 electronic devices that are all online.

Keep track of software updates and be cautious when purchasing from unknown manufacturers by using different passwords for each. You can keep your router and other devices safe from cybercrime by performing a few additional checks.

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Shruti Saini is an enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert at NJYP (New Jersey Young Professionals, USA). Working as a freelancer with the job responsibilities of On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, HTML/WordPress Website Maintenance, Social Media Optimization, etc.

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