Is your network as secure as it might be, or as secure as it should be? Here’s how to keep your Wi-Fi network safe from hackers and leeches.
Consider the devices that are linked to your Wi-Fi network: computers, phones, tablets, and smartwatches. Consider the information on such gadgets. If your network is hacked, credit card numbers, bank data, login credentials, and other personal and private information may be present and available to hackers.
Hacking into a home network is all too common. In reality, in 2021, digital crime cost Americans more than $6.9 billion, and although phishing and scams played a role, personal data breaches also played a role. A secure home network will assist to lessen the chance of being hacked and critical information being accessed. Not only that, but it will block out any undesirable or unauthorized users or gadgets from slowing down your connection or freeloading on your paid-for internet service.
Creating and maintaining a secure home Wi-Fi network is quite straightforward. You’ll find ten suggestions for safeguarding your network below. Some are more effective than others in deterring hackers and freeloaders, but they’re all valuable in their own way. Remember that nothing will guarantee complete protection from hacking efforts, but following these guidelines will make it much more difficult for someone to infiltrate your network and data.
Place your router in the middle of the room
A sensible configuration is the first step in ensuring network security. Place your router in the center of your home if feasible. Because routers broadcast wireless signals in all directions, strategically positioning your router in the center of your home will assist retain your connection within your home. As a bonus, it will almost certainly result in the finest connection quality.
If you have internet in an apartment with neighbors on your left and right, for example, putting your router near to a shared wall may send a powerful and attractive signal their way. Even if you don’t live in an apartment, a decent router can send signals across the street or next door. Placing your router in the center of your home will help to decrease the distance that those signals go outside your home.
Make a secure Wi-Fi password and update it frequently
Although this should go without saying, I’ll go over it again to stress its significance. Maintaining a safe connection requires creating a unique password for your Wi-Fi network. Avoid passwords or phrases that are easily guessed, such as a person’s name, birthdate, phone number, or other common information. While basic Wi-Fi passwords are simple to remember, they are also simple to figure out by others.
Make a habit of changing your password every six months or if you suspect your network security has been compromised.
Change the username and password for the router’s default login
In the same way that you should password-protect your Wi-Fi network, you should also password-protect your router settings. Change the admin name and password on your router to do this. You can access your router’s settings by putting its IP address into the URL bar, but most routers and service providers now provide an app that gives you access to the same information and options.
The Wi-Fi network name and password are not the same as the router login credentials. You should be able to discover the default on the bottom of the router if you’re not sure what it is. Here’s how to access your router settings and update the username and password if it’s been changed from the default anywhere along the road.
Enable Wi-Fi encryption and the firewall
Most routers have a firewall and Wi-Fi encryption to protect data going back and forth between your router and connected devices from outside hackers. Both should be turned on by default, but double-check.
Check to see if the firewall and Wi-Fi encryption are activated now that you know how to log in to your network settings. Turn them on if they’re switched off for whatever reason. Your network will be safer as a result of your efforts.
Make a Wi-Fi network for visitors
“Can you give me the Wi-Fi password?” is a question that every host has heard. Consider constructing a separate guest network for visitors before giving access to your main home network. I’m not implying that your visitors will try anything criminal with your primary Wi-Fi connection, but their devices or anything they download while connected to your network might be infected with malware or viruses that target your network without their realizing it.
A guest network is also great for your IoT devices, such as Wi-Fi cameras, thermostats, and smart speakers — devices that don’t store a lot of sensitive data and are potentially more hackable than a computer or phone.
Use a virtual private network (VPN)
One of the most compelling reasons to utilize a strong VPN is for network security. A virtual private network covers your IP address and Wi-Fi activities, including browsing history, among other things.
VPNs are most beneficial while connected to a public network, but they may also bring protection and anonymity to your home network. Some VPNs are superior to others, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. There are free VPN services accessible, but paying a little more (literally, a few dollars per month) can provide you a far better, more secure service.
Make sure your network and other devices are up to current
When you need to get online the most, software upgrades always seem to appear. While they might be inconvenient, they have a purpose, which frequently includes security updates. Companies issue updates and fixes when they become aware of possible or exposed security vulnerabilities in order to reduce or remove the risk. You want to get your hands on those.
Maintaining the most recent updates on your router and linked devices can assist guarantee you have the best security against known malware and hacking attempts. Whether feasible, configure your router to automatically update in the admin settings, and check to see if your router is up to current on a regular basis.
Even with the most up-to-date and effective methods of protecting your home network, security will never be guaranteed. Hackers and cybercriminals will discover methods to exploit the internet as long as it exists. However, using the recommendations above, you should be able to better protect your network from anyone attempting to use your connection or access your data.