Banish Hackers and Freeloaders Now: 10 Tips to Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network
We’ll teach you how to safeguard your sensitive data and prevent others from interfering with your connection. Home network hacking is all too common. Internet crime cost Americans more than $6.9 billion in 2021, and although phishing and frauds had a role, personal data breaches also played a role.
The typical household in the United States today has more than ten gadgets linked to the home Wi-Fi network. Everything from computers and tablets to phones, wearables, and streaming gadgets adds up rapidly. And, with so much data kept on those devices – credit card numbers, bank records, login passwords, and other personal and private information – you want to be sure you’re safe from hackers if your network is ever infiltrated.
A secure home network can help limit the possibility of being hacked and having someone get access to your important information. Not only that, but it will prevent any undesirable or unauthorized users or devices from slowing down your connection or freeloading on the internet service you have paid for.
Creating and maintaining a secure home Wi-Fi network is quite straightforward. You’ll find ten network security suggestions below. Some are more successful than others in deterring hackers and freeloaders, but they are all valuable in their own way. Remember that nothing will guarantee complete protection against hacking efforts, but following these guidelines will make it more difficult for anybody to breach your network and data.
How to Secure Your Home WiFi Network
Here are the fundamentals for safeguarding your home Wi-Fi network. Continue reading for additional information on each.
- Put your router in a prominent area.
- Make a strong Wi-Fi password and update it often.
- Modify the router’s default login credentials.
- Enable the firewall and Wi-Fi encryption.
- Set up a guest network.
- Make use of a VPN.
- Make sure your router and gadgets are up to date.
- Turn off remote router access.
- Check the linked devices.
- Switch to a WPA3 router.
Place your router in a prominent area
A sensible configuration is the first step toward strong network security. Place your router in the middle of your house if feasible. Routers broadcast wifi signals in all directions, so strategically positioning your router in the center of your house will assist contain your connection to the bounds of your home. As an added benefit, 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 might send a powerful, and enticing, signal their way. Even if you’re not in an apartment, a decent router can send signals across the street or next door. Placing your router in the center of your house can assist decrease the distance those signals travel outside your home.
Make a strong Wi-Fi password and update it often
This should go without saying, but I’ll mention it nonetheless to highlight its significance. It is critical to create a unique password for your Wi-Fi network in order to maintain a safe connection. Avoid passwords or phrases that are readily guessed, such as someone’s name, birthdate, phone number, or other common information. Simple Wi-Fi passwords are easy to remember, but they are also easy for others to find out. (Here’s how to go into your router’s settings and change your Wi-Fi password.)
Change your password every six months or if you suspect your network security has been compromised.
Change the default router login information
Along the same lines as password-protecting your Wi-Fi network, you’ll want to prevent unauthorized access to your router settings. To do so, update the admin name and password on your router. You can access your router’s settings by putting its IP address into the URL bar, but most routers and service providers provide an app that allows you to do the same.
Your router login information is distinct from your Wi-Fi network name and password. If you don’t know what the default is, you should be able to discover it on the router’s bottom. Alternatively, if it was changed from the default anywhere along the line, here’s how to access your router settings to update the username and password.
Activate the firewall and Wi-Fi encryption
Most routers have a firewall to prevent outside hacking, as well as Wi-Fi encryption to prevent eavesdropping on data exchanged between your router and connected devices. Both are usually turned on by default, but you should double-check to be sure.
Now that you know how to access your router’s settings, double-check that the firewall and Wi-Fi encryption are turned on. Turn them on if they’re turned off for whatever reason. Your network security will appreciate it.
Set up a guest Wi-Fi network
“Can I have the Wi-Fi password?” is a question that every host has heard. Consider constructing a separate guest network for guests before giving access to your main home network. I’m not saying that your visitors will do anything criminal with your primary Wi-Fi connection, but their devices or anything they download while connected to your network may be infected with malware or viruses that target your network without their knowledge.
A guest network is also great for your Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as Wi-Fi cameras, thermostats, and smart speakers – devices that may not contain important information and may be more easily hacked than a smarter device, such as a computer or phone.
Use a VPN
There are many reasons to utilize a reliable VPN, one of which is network security. A virtual private network, for example, conceals your IP address and Wi-Fi activities, including browsing data.
VPNs are more likely effective while linked to a public network, but they may still bring protection and anonymity to your home network. Some VPNs are superior than others, but as with other things, you frequently get what you pay for. Although free VPN services are available, paying a little more (literally, only a few dollars a month) will get a much better, more secure service.
Maintain the most recent versions of your router and devices
Software updates always seem to appear when you need to connect to the internet the most. While they might be inconvenient, they have a purpose, which often includes security updates. When businesses become aware of possible or exposed security flaws, they provide updates and patches to mitigate or remove the risk. You want to get them.
Maintaining the most recent updates for your router and linked devices can assist guarantee you have the greatest security against known malware and hacking attempts. Set your router to automatically update in the admin settings if feasible, and check for updates on a regular basis.
Turn off remote router access
Anyone who is not physically connected to your Wi-Fi network may view the router settings through remote router access. There should be no need to allow remote access unless you need to access your network while away from home, for example, to check or alter the settings of a child’s connected device.
Remote access may be disabled in the router’s admin settings. Disabling remote router access may not be the default, unlike other security measures.
Check the linked devices
Inspect the devices linked to your network on a regular basis to ensure you know what they are. If you see anything suspect, unplug it and reset your Wi-Fi password. After updating your password, you must rejoin any previously connected devices, but any users or devices that are not permitted to access your network will be kicked off.
Some devices, particularly esoteric IoT gadgets, may have strange default names consisting of arbitrary digits and characters that you may not instantly identify. If you come find anything like that when inspecting your linked gadgets, unplug it immediately. When you can’t start your robot vacuum cleaner from your phone later, you’ll know it was that.
Switch to a WPA3 router
WPA3 is the most recent router security protocol. All new routers should have WPA3, therefore you should have no problems if you purchase a new router. Many consumers, however, rent their routers straight from the provider, which may not contain the most recent technology.
If your router was manufactured before to 2018, it may be a WPA2 device, which lacks the same degree of security measures as newer, WPA3 equipment. A simple search of your device’s model should reveal when it was released as well as any particular characteristics, such as if it supports WPA2 or WPA3. If you have a router that supports WPA2, contact your provider and ask for a better, more modern router.
Network security is not a guarantee
Again, even with the most latest and sophisticated techniques of securing 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 suggestions provided above, you should be able to better protect your network from anybody attempting to use your connection or access your data.
For additional information, see how to identify whether your internet provider is throttling your Wi-Fi and how to speed up your Wi-Fi connection.
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