Wi-Fi networks - how to setup Security ?

why do we need passwords for Wi-Fi networks?
Good question! Many users think that Wi-Fi passwords help them to prevent freeloaders ( people who use your Wi-Fi without your permission ) from accessing their Wi-Fi networks. Well, passwords do a lot more than that. They encrypt your Wi-Fi network's traffic so that some bad people around you won't be able to see what you're doing with the internet.
I didn't know that! Also, I've heard about different types of passwords like WEP, WPA, WPA2. What are these?

Haha. They aren't passwords. They are called encryption techniques. They are used to encode your data so that no one will be able to see what you're doing on your network.WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy and WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access.
WEP was the first encryption technique.

WPA and WPA2 were developed after WEP.

So, which encryption method should I use?
It depends on your router and your device. Some very old devices can only support WEP. In that case you can only use WEP. I do not recommend using WEP. You should always try to use WPA or WPA2.
Now that's something interesting! What's wrong with WEP? Why shouldn't I use it?

Just like software have bugs in them, the encryption techniques might have some overlooked problems in them. WEP was abandoned because it had a problem in it. A hacker with little knowledge could easily find the password if WEP was used. So, in order to rectify that WPA and later WPA2 were developed. 
On my router I can connect my devices by pressing a push button. Isn't this easier and more secure than entering a password?
What you're talking about is WPS ( WiFi Protected Setup ). This method was created as a cover up for WEP. It was created to avoid the hassle of entering passwords. But it turned out to be much worse than WEP.  A flaw was found in this method too. If you're using this disable it immediately ( Yes, I mean it! You must disable this as soon as possible ).
So, which encryption technique is safe?
I'd recommend you to use WPA2 or at least WPA. WPA2 is the most secure one. Let's take a look at all the encryption techniques:

I've heard about hiding my Wi-Fi and allowing only some devices to connect to my network. What about them?
Hiding your Wi-Fi might not make your network super secure but it could stop some people finding your network ( one can find it easily even though it's hidden ). And coming to allowing only some devices to connect : it is called MAC filtering. It sounds good but one can bypass it easily. All he ( the bad guy) needs is a wee bit of patience.

Sometimes when I'm in an airport or hotel I use the free Wi-Fi provided by them. What about those Wi-Fi networks?  
Who doesn't want free Wi-Fi? But you should be very careful while using them. Hackers could be anywhere. You shouldn't use these free Wi-Fi networks for online shopping or sites involving use of your credit card. If possible don't use free Wi-Fi networks.

Should I use only WPA2 to secure my network?
As I've said in my previous class you should not use WEP and WPS at all! You may use WPA but you'll be more safe if you use WPA2.

Is encryption the only security for a Wi-Fi network?
Nope, there are many things that can help you increase your network security. Here are some of them:
- Changing default passwords of router
- Changing the default network name
- Disabling remote login
- Disabling wireless administration
- Disabling WPS
- Upgrading your router firmware
- Enabling router firewall- Using a VPN service

Can you explain these in detail?
Yes, for sure.

Why should I change the default passwords for the router?

Since they are 'default' these passwords can be easily found just by a quick google search. So, anyone who is successful in discovering your Wi-Fi password can easily change your router settings if your router password hasn't been changed.
So, change your router password as soon as possible.

What about the default network name?
In case you don't know network name is the name of your Wi-Fi network ( like DLink, Netgear095 etc.). If anyone is determined to break into your network your default network name will help him. Since in most cases the default name will be the manufacturer's name it will help him in determining the router password. So, change your default network name.

What about remote login?

Remote login is used to access your router controls any where from the internet. Most of us don't need this feature and you don't want some one accessing your router from the internet, right? So, disable remote login.

What about wireless administration? 
Wireless administration is used to access your router settings fro your devices connected to the Wi-Fi network. You might not need it since you can change the settings by connecting to the router using a LAN cable. So, disable wireless administration if you don't want your router settings to be changed by some evil people.

I guess most of us know about WPS. So, let's skip to upgrading router firmware.

Just like your devices with MIUI get updates to fix bugs, updates are also released for routers to fix any bugs or security issues. So, update your router firmware regularly.

Okay. What about the firewall?

Firewall guards your router from most internet threats. So, in order to protect your network from internet threats enable your router firewall.

What is a VPN service and how can it help me?
First I'll tell you what a VPN is:

Let's say that you want to send a letter to a person and you don't want anyone else to read it. So, you encrypt the letter. But someone could intercept your letter and impersonate you and send their own letter to the same person.If you encrypt the address then no one will be able to deliver it. 
"VPN to the rescue."
This time you encrypt both the letter and the address and send it to the address of the VPN. Here the VPN should be a trust worthy person. He won't read the contents of your letter or alter them. Then the VPN will unencrypt it and send it to the recipient.In short VPN encrypts your data and it acts like a virtual LAN cable between the website and  your device.

But remember choose your VPN wisely.

source : mi forum

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