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Why you should encrypt your Wi-Fi network and how to do it

26.04.2023
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Encryption is a method of scrambling data to the degree that outside parties cannot decipher it, preventing unauthorised access and safeguarding your data. To truly understand why Wi-Fi encryption is so important, you should first acknowledge the risk that an unsecured network poses.

Cybercriminals can exploit unprotected networks, employing diverse techniques to infiltrate and exploit vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals are skilled at exploiting these vulnerabilities, gaining illegal access to sensitive information, such as financial details, personal correspondence and even surveillance footage. As a result, hackers can compromise privacy, leading to devastating consequences like identity theft, financial loss, and blackmail.

Wi-Fi network encryption is an accepted measure for protecting personal information and likewise the data of every device connected to it. Also, several encryption standards and protocols are available to help users secure their Wi-Fi network. WEP (wired equivalent privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) and WPA2 offer levels of security though WEP is considered old and less secure than WPA and WPA2.

There are several methods for encrypting your Wi-Fi, and fortunately, they are applicable to both older traditional routers and modern mesh systems. It starts with accessing the router’s configuration page for conventional router setups. To do this:
open a web browser and enter the router’s IP address
once entered, you’ll see a screen to provide login credentials, often set to default values
after successfully logging in, navigate to the wireless settings section, where you will find the encryption options
choose the most secure encryption standard, ideally WPA2 or WPA3 and create a strong and unique password.
This process could vary for users of mesh Wi-Fi systems that often have accompanying mobile apps that allow for easier network management. To set up its encryption:
download and install the mesh system’s app on your smartphone or tablet
sign in to your account and select the network you want to modify
navigate to the security options, typically under “Wi-Fi settings” or a similar menu
choose the highest level of encryption available and create a strong password
save the changes and update any connected devices with the new password.

While there are other methods to secure your Wi-Fi network, encryption is regarded as the best security approach because cybercriminals cannot thwart your network or decipher the encrypted data.