Whether you sometimes work from home or you just want to keep your personal network secure, learning how to protect your home’s network is important. Below are some steps we suggest to increase the security of your home’s Wi-Fi network.
During initial setup of a home router or firewall, you will have the option to change a lot of the default settings. We always recommend customizing these settings, including the password used to log into the device, the Wi-Fi SSID name, and the default encryption setting. As you are going through initial setup (most routers come with software that helps you through this process), you should be able to change all of these settings. If you already have a router setup, you can change these settings by either using the software (usually a CD) or entering the router’s IP address in the URL bar in your web browser. Most routers have a default IP address of 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, and when you enter that in your web browser you will be directed to your router’s log in screen.
When it comes to your router’s security settings we recommend using WPA2, and setting a custom password that only you would know – password123 usually isn’t a great option! To do this, simply go into your router’s settings menu and navigate to a section called something like “security” or “wireless security”. Once there you should be able to select which encryption/security setting you want, and we recommend using WPA2. Above all else, try to stay away from selecting WEP as your setting. WEP encryption can easily be hacked and expose your private network to unsavory characters.
We mentioned above that you should change your default SSID. This is just a fancy abbreviation that means your router’s name. This is what people see when they look at available wireless networks. When someone with malicious intent sees a default SSID (i.e. “Netgear1”, “Linksys01”, etc.) they will likely target that network as they assume other settings will still be the default as well. You change this the same way you change your password, by accessing your router’s settings and changing its name. We recommend changing it to something unique, but un-identifying.
One more option for maximum security on your router is using MAC address filtering. MAC (media access control) addresses are unique identifiers given to devices that connect to a network. All devices on your network (phones, smart TVs, computers, printers, satellite TV boxes, etc.) have a MAC address. If desired, you can find the MAC address, sometimes called physical address or Wi-Fi address, for each of your devices you use on your network. Then, through your router settings, you can add all of these devices to your “allowed” MAC addresses. This way, only those specific devices will be able to access your network.
Lastly, remember that all your computers, tablets and phones should have active anti-virus software installed. You must also subscribe to the maintenance service for the anti-virus software to receive updates that protect you against new computer viruses.
By taking these steps you can strengthen your home network security, greatly decreasing the chance of someone with malicious intent accessing your network. We understand that some of these steps can be a bit confusing to setup, so we encourage you to give us a call (330-236-1011) or shoot us an email with questions!