Ah, what a wonderful invention the internet is, and even more wonderful is the wireless network we have all grown so accustomed to. I mean seriously, what would we do without a Wi-Fi network in our house and literally everywhere else we go? I do not know if it is only me or the internet and thus Wi-Fi has started to feel like a mandatory requirement for our existence in the modern world. With all our devices connected to the internet 24/7, we have acquired an immense amount of mobility and achieved higher productivity like never before. We can easily say that the internet is one bit of technology that is not only for the tech-savvy but for every average Joe and Jane out there.
However, with all the amazing things the internet has brought to us, there is also a downside. Unfortunately, when we do not pay enough attention to safeguarding our network, it can become a playground for hackers to play whatever sort of malicious games they like. Almost everyone in the house is connected to the internet through one or more devices, e.g. smartphones, PCs, tablets, and laptops. If you have set up a smart home then the number of devices is even more, and the risk even higher, because now they can possibly break into your house without much physical effort.
Therefore, to make sure that the children, elderly, pets, credit card details, bank account details, etc. are all safe, you need to ensure that your home Wi-Fi network is secure. There are many steps that can be taken to ensure this and one of them could be installing anti-virus software that protects your devices from all sorts of malicious activity. All major internet providers offer internet security suites with their internet connections. These security suites are either free of cost or for a discounted rate to encourage people to use these and stay safe. For example, if you sign up for Spectrum’s internet service, you will receive a McAfee powered security suite with all Spectrum packages.
Now moving onto the steps you can take to keep your Wi-Fi network and therefore yourself and your loved ones secure.
The Default Name of your Wi-Fi network
The SSID or Service Set Identifier is the default network name your router’s manufacturer has given to the wireless network. Most probably, it would be the company name but could be anything else too. Whatever it may be, it will be the same for every router they produce and therefore, the first thing to do in order to move forward into a safer Wi-Fi network is to change this SSID. When somebody with a computer searches for Wi-Fi networks nearby and the list of networks shows a network with the default SSID still in place, it immediately gives the impression that you are an easy target since you do not have much security awareness. Therefore, the hacker will automatically focus on you, and for good reason. Your network has a better chance of being breached than those with customized SSID. It is a good idea to change the network name as soon as you set up the wireless network and to make your network private. This way only authorized people can see it.
Set up a Unique and Strong Password
Just like the SSID, all Wi-Fi routers come with a default password. Even more important than the SSID is to change the Wi-Fi password as soon as you set up the wireless network. The default password is a no-brainer for hackers especially if the default SSID has not been changed either. This way even if they do not know the password they can always search for it. When you are setting up a password a few things to keep in mind would be to ensure that the password is at least 20 characters and includes letters, symbols, and numbers. This will make it hard to crack, thus deterring hackers.
Always enable Network Encryption
Most routers come with a default encryption feature as well. It will be turned off when you first turn on the router so it is your job to turn it on when you are setting up your network. Turning on the network encryption means that all traffic being transmitted over your router’s network will be encrypted, therefore, not visible to hackers. This will help keep your network secure after your internet service provider has activated your service and you have set up the network. It will be a good time to also check what kind of encryption your router provides. WPA2 is the most advanced and effective type till now and if you are using a company router that does not provide WPA2 you may want to consider buying your router.
Update Router Software Regularly
No machine or device is perfect when it is first released, and neither are routers. Even if they are perfect for the time they are released, technology and cyber threats keep evolving, thus requiring regular software updates to counter these. Other times the firmware could contain flaws that could cause huge vulnerabilities resulting in security breaches you would not enjoy. Therefore, manufacturers keep releasing updates to their router software to ensure they stay ahead of the game. You must install all these updates as soon as they are released to ensure your router does not have any vulnerabilities online predators can take advantage of.
A good Firewall is Essential
Your device’s first line of defense against an unauthorized intrusion is the firewall. Your routers also come with a built-in firewall for the same purpose. Even though most brands might keep the firewall turned on by default, there is a possibility it could be turned off. Always check your router settings to ensure the firewall is turned on. However, if you find out that your router does not come with a default firewall then you need to install a good firewall on your devices to keep an eye on malicious intrusions into your network.
Regardless of which internet service provider you subscribe to or the router you use, the above steps are necessary to stay safe when you are online.