If you are looking to set up a VPN server at home, then it’s important to consider what type of device you will use, as different VPN servers work better with different devices. One of the most popular VPN servers is the Buffalo DD-WRT router, which is a combination of the DD-WRT open source project with the strong privacy protections from the company of the same name. In this article, we will discuss some of the best practices when setting up a Buffalo DD-WRT router as a VPN access point (or “hotspot”) so you can connect to the internet from your Wi-Fi enabled devices with confidence.
Consider The Location
When you are setting up a VPN server at home, it’s important to consider the location of the device. If you live in a rural area, then it’s best to set up the server in a remote area, far away from major population centers. This will help reduce the potential that your activity on the network can be monitored and blocked by your ISP or government agencies.
If you live in a major city, then it’s best to locate the server in a quieter part of the building, preferably in a remote space such as a closet or attic. The closer the server is to the router, the faster it will be able to send and receive data, so if possible, avoid placing it in the same room as the router. There’s no reason to have the 2 things coexisting in the same area, because one will definitely affect the other. There are security risks associated with having a server in the same room as the router, and you don’t want to take the risk of having a hacker access the device.
Use A Firewall
Just like any other computer, your DD-WRT router is at risk of being hacked by someone trying to gain access to your network. In addition to a VPN server, you should also install and use a firewall to protect your device from online threats. Like with most computers, there are many different types of firewall applications available for smartphones and tablets, so you can download and install a firewall app in no time at all. Just make sure that you keep up with the monthly security updates, as most firewalls are vulnerable to attack and can be hacked. The same goes for the VPN server you are using. Make sure that you are always using the latest version of either application, and that you are patching vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered.
Buy A VPN Server That’s Appropriate For Your Needs
Nowadays, it is quite common for VPN providers to offer different levels of service for different price points. For example, you may want to purchase a $2.95/mo five-user VPN plan if you’re a small business owner or an individual looking for a modest amount of security, but you may want to consider paying a bit more for a bespoke plan designed for industrial or enterprise use. The same goes for the kind of device you will use to set up the VPN server. You will want to purchase a VPN server that’s appropriate for your needs, depending on how much traffic you generate and how much security you need.
If You Are Using Windows, Make Sure You Run A Virus Scanner Every Day
If you are running Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, then you are familiar with the importance of virus scanning your device every day. However, what you might not know is that many viruses and other malware don’t just live on your computer’s hard drive. They can also be found in your system’s RAM, which is why it’s important to run a virus scanner every day even when you don’t actually use your computer. The most effective way to protect yourself from online threats is by being aware of them and neutralizing them before they can do any damage. Regularly checking for malware is a crucial step in keeping your device safe.
Even when you don’t have a virus scanner running, you can use the Microsoft Security Essentials app, which is available for both Android and Windows devices, to help identify and neutralize malware before it can do any damage. The app will constantly scan your phone or tablet for any signs of infection and alert you if it finds any, so you can take care of the problem immediately.
Choose An Aligned Password Policy
Unless you are just testing the waters with a VPN, it’s important to choose an aligned password policy. This means that each user must use a different password, and none of them can be easily guessed. Ideally, you will want to choose a policy that requires a minimum of eight characters and at least one number.
You can help ensure that your passwords are safe by using a password manager, like Dashlane, which will automatically generate random passwords for you, or you can choose to use a service like 1Password, which generates complex passwords that you can memorize easily. Whatever you do, make sure that your password policy is clearly communicated to all users to prevent any misunderstandings.
Keep Your Router Up-To-Date
With any piece of technology, it’s important to make sure that you are always using the latest software and hardware. This means that you will want to ensure that your router is always patched and updated to the latest version. When new versions are released, it usually involves adding new functionality and fixing various bugs and vulnerabilities. For example, the latest version of the DD-WRT router firmware adds several features, including dual band support, which allows for faster speeds.
To ensure that you are always using the latest version of the DD-WRT router firmware, you will want to check for updates by entering http://192.168.1.1 into your device’s browser. Just like that, you will be directed to the firmware’s update page, where you can read the latest news and see a list of available updates.
Many companies issue frequent security updates, so you don’t have to worry about your device’s software becoming outdated. However, if you aren’t familiar with hardware updates, then it can be quite tedious to keep your device up to date. It’s best to check for updates manually, or through a service like My WiFi Connection that can scan your network and let you know when there are any available updates.
Use A Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) System
If you suspect that someone has accessed your personal data (like username and passwords) then you can enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to help protect yourself from online fraud. You will want to purchase a MFA app for your phone, like Google Authenticator, and use it in conjunction with the login details for your VPN account. When you login to your VPN account, the server will challenge you to enter a code that you create on the app. Just make sure that you keep the code safe as it can be used as an extra layer of security when logging in to your device. If you forget your code, then you will have to enter your username and password again, which could potentially leave you open to hacking.
Some MFA services like Google Authenticator make codes that change regularly. This means that even if someone obtains your login details, they will still have to wait a little while before they can use it. In some instances, hackers have succeeded in hacking MFA systems, so make sure that your device’s MFA app and server are up to date and functioning properly.
Now that you’re equipped with the basics of setting up a Buffalo DD-WRT router as a VPN access point, it’s time to get to the good stuff. Remember to follow the guidelines discussed above, and you will be able to enjoy secure internet access, anywhere that you go.