When it comes to our WiFi networks, a similar story plays out in most of our homes. Once our router is set-up and installed and all our devices connected, we forget all about it. It’s a common theme because in 2020 we’re all pretty used to being connected. Everything from our cell phones and tablets to our watches and bank accounts are accessible through our WiFi connection. Yet it’s because of this scope of connectedness that smart consumers need to pay closer attention to making sure their WiFi set up is secure.
Even a small vulnerability in your network can give access to cybercriminals looking to wreak havoc on your life. People with malicious intent can steal things like banking information, credit card details, sensitive medical information, and all sorts of other personal data.
According to recently released data, nearly 23% of households have experienced some form of cyberattack “with hacking, viruses, and identity theft as the most common types.” And with the average household having at least six WiFi-enabled devices, it is clear that now is the time to learn how to better secure your home wireless network and decrease your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Use the steps below as a quick guide to enhance the security of your network.
CHANGE YOUR NETWORK’S NAME
The first step to a more secure home network is to change the SSID (service set identifier). Most manufacturers set up their routers on a default SSID — usually using the company name. This name is then publicly broadcast whenever a wireless connection is trying to be made. Keeping your default name can give a hacker an idea of what model router you have so they can then look into exploiting any vulnerabilities that model may have.
Keep in mind SSID can be up to 32 characters in length and case sensitive, so you can create some really unique names to throw a criminal off his or her game. Also, stay away from adding any personal information into your network name as that can open the door to identity theft.
COME UP WITH A SECURE NETWORK PASSWORD
This next tip on our how to secure your WiFi list relates to our first suggestion in that your router also comes with a pre-set password given to it by the manufacturer. This makes sense as a default password is needed to first connect and install your router. But it also means your generic password is an easy target for savvy cyber criminals who know the manufacture and its pre-sets well.
If you’re looking to keep hackers away, try coming up with a new password for your wireless network that is at least 12 characters long with a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
FIREWALLS CAN HELP SECURE YOUR NETWORK
Your router’s firmware is your first line of defense against any potential cyberattacks. Updating your firmware is usually something you don’t have to be too concerned about maintaining as your internet provider should push out any updates to the firmware automatically. However, it’s always good to have a Plan B in place in case your firmware misses a threat.
Most wireless routers will contain a built-in firewall, but some are shipped out without the firewall turned on. Double-check that your router’s firewall is both installed and turned on. You can also opt for added protection by installing a software firewall in addition to the hardware firewall already in place in your router.
Try finding a software solution that offers multiple device protection, including PCs, Macs, and tablets, as well as one that can safeguard your phone from viruses and risky apps.
WHAT SAFE WIFI LOOKS LIKE FOR YOU
It’s easy to put off taking the necessary steps to figure out how to secure your WiFi network, but that doesn’t mean you should — especially if you don’t want to become a cyber attack statistic. You don’t have to be a technology expert to safeguard your home and personal data, you just have to follow the simple steps listed above and talk to your internet provider for added protection if need be.
Featured image by geralt