When you’re on the internet at home, you assume that your network is secure and that your activity is private. But is it really private, or could hackers be watching everything you and your family do online? If you haven’t secured your home wireless network, your activity is visible to all and sundry.
You need to make sure that your router and network are secure. You’ll need to access your router’s admin dashboard and change the default login credentials. You’ll need to change your wireless network name and password. You should turn on Wi-Fi encryption and disable remote access to your router. You need to turn on firewall protection and install firmware updates regularly. You should also set up a guest network to segregate questionable devices.
Access Your Router’s Admin Dashboard and Change the Default Login Credentials
If you haven’t signed into your router or gateway’s admin dashboard and changed the default login credentials, then your network is extremely vulnerable. Find the admin dashboard by putting your router’s IP address into your URL search bar and navigating to it (you can find the IP address on the bottom or side of the device, or in the documentation that came with it). Login using the default credentials written on the bottom or side of the router, or in the setup instructions. If you can’t find the default credentials, they’re easy to find online – that’s why you need to change them! Just google “default credentials + router model name + router brand”.
Turn on Wi-Fi Encryption
Once you have changed your router’s username and password, go ahead and turn on Wi-Fi encryption in the admin dashboard. You should be able to activate WPA3 encryption. If your router doesn’t have WPA3, it’s probably outdated and in need of replacement.
Disable Remote Router Access
Another thing you should do while you’re in your router’s admin dashboard is disable remote access. Remote access allows people not on your home wireless network to access your router. Do you need to get into your router settings while you’re away from home, perhaps to manage a child’s access permissions? Then you may want to leave this enabled. Otherwise, turn it off so that hackers can’t access your router settings from afar.
Enable Your Firewall
Most routers will have a firewall setting that you can turn on for added security. Firewalls protect your network by monitoring all the data that comes onto your network and blocking anything that looks like it might be harmful. It can be an excellent tool for protecting your devices against malware, ransomware, viruses, and even hackers. If you want even more protection, you should consider purchasing online security software from a vendor like Trend Micro.
Install Firmware Updates as They Become Available
If there are any firmware updates available in your router’s admin dashboard, install them immediately. These firmware updates contain security patches from your gateway’s manufacturer, so they can protect you from security flaws. If you don’t install your updates, you’re leaving yourself open to known threats for no reason. Install firmware updates as they become available. Enable automatic firmware updates if possible.
Change Your Wireless Network Name and Password
You should change your default service set identifier (SSID), or network name, as well as your wireless password. Don’t use any identifying information in your new SSID – you don’t want to give potential hackers any more information about your family than you can help. Use a strong, unique password that you change at least every six months.
Establish a Guest Network
Guest networks can be super valuable for protecting your home network from malware, ransomware, viruses, and hackers. If a guest asks for your wireless password, you want to be able to provide it, but you also don’t want to catch anything from them, so to speak. If your guest has malware or viruses on his or her device, a guest network can keep it off your main home network.
You can also use a guest network to segregate Internet of Things (IoT) devices, like your smart robot vacuum or your smart security cameras. It’s a good idea to have these devices on a separate network because many of them are not very secure, and hackers take advantage of that. Every device connected to your network represents a potential doorway into your network that hackers can use. Keep your IoT devices on a separate network from your data-rich phones, tablets, and laptops, and you’ll have an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals.
When it comes to your home network, you can’t be too safe. Take appropriate precautions to keep yours and your family’s online activities private, and protect your household from cyber crime.