Securing your home network by reinforcing the strength of your Wi-Fi password and more is critical in these risky times. An average home network consists of several web-connected devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, smart televisions, smartwatches, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart lights, smart locks, baby monitors, so on and so forth. These devices are in constant communication with clients or servers on the internet, which makes them vulnerable to online threats, as well.
Online threats are the dangers posed by cybercriminal entities and codes, which may lead to personal or financial ruin. If a hacker slips into your home network, they may corrupt all the devices that are a part of it. This is why it is vital to secure your home network, especially if you’ve got a smart automation system installed in your residence, wherein devices interact with each other constantly. Though some smart home automation and security services like Cox Homelife may come alongside a security suite, you may still need to close up any lapse in your network just to be safe.
Simply using your discretion is not enough. So, without further ado, let’s explore the following tips and tricks to safeguard your home network.
Rename Your Home Network
Network visibility can easily go against your favor. Usually, when a provider sets up your Wi-Fi network, they give it a default name such as “ABCD Wi-Fi” or something on a temporary basis. If a hacker comes across this network name, they can use their advanced tools to dig up the network device’s default username and password and access it without you ever knowing. So, to avoid becoming a victim to hacking attempts, head into the configuration settings of your router and change the SSID to a more personalized and more secure title.
Disable the Network SSID
What is SSID, you ask? SSID is the “Service Set Identifier” or the name of your Wi-Fi network. It is what appears on the search list of the nearby wireless devices when they hit the “scan Wi-Fi networks” button. A broadcasting SSID can also catch the eye of cybercriminals. To make sure that doesn’t happen, go into the network settings and toggle the button for broadcast SSID to disable. Disabling your SSID will still connect your in-home networks on which the network ID is saved, but it will also reduce any opportunity of attacking for the cybercriminals.
Set a Stronger Password in Place
A password is a key, which locks a home network. Changing the default password of your Wi-Fi network from “admin” to a stronger combination is necessary for ensuring authorized accessibility. Ideally, only the people in your household should be able to use your home network. All piggybacking users and hackers should stay at bay. How can you make that happen? By setting up a tough password on your home network. A tough password is a unique mix of alphabets, symbols, and numbers. It should be 8 to 11 characters long and should not be something predictable like your dog’s name, which hackers can figure out from your social media profiles. Apart from setting a strong password, you should also update it regularly to stay one step ahead of the game.
Encrypt Your Network Data
A great way to add extra layers of protection to your home network is to enable data encryption. Encryption works by scrambling the online communication between the devices in the WLAN. Even if a hacker snoops in from somewhere, he or she won’t be able to crack the data. Thus, encryption safeguards your information from third-party onlookers. There are two ways you can enable encryption on your home network:
- Encryption Certificates and Protocols: Almost all routers manufactured these days are embedded with encryption protocols. Before buying a router or renting it from your ISP, make sure to check the encryption certificates. The latest and most recommended one is WPA2-PSK, which offers enhanced protection for multiple devices in the network.
- VPNs: Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are programs that route your online data externally and encrypt your online communication over the internet. They also hide your location. For instance, if you’re accessing the World Wide Web from your home in the US, a VPN will alter the location of your IP address, such that it would appear to originate from the Netherlands or any other region you’ve selected. VPNs can be free or paid. Paid VPNs are better because of the credibility and perks like the no-logs policy.
Update the Router Software
A router powers your home network. It is the core network device, which circulates Wi-Fi signals in an area and oversees the flow of online traffic. Since it performs such an important function, a router should be updated regularly. Router manufacturers roll out firmware updates from time to time, which carry the latest bug fixes and security patches. If you don’t update your router frequently, hackers may get a chance to exploit the device vulnerabilities and contaminate the devices in your WLAN. You can set the router to update automatically or you can manually update it from its settings.
Filter MAC Addresses
Every device has a MAC or “Media Access Control address.” You can enable the MAC filtering on your wireless router to restrict access to your home network and protect it thereby. Simply navigate to the router’s settings, choose the “Firewall” option, open the “Advanced Settings” and check the “Enable” box next to the “MAC Filtering” option. Then, type the MAC addresses of the devices you wish to connect to your in-home network in the table and click “Add.” Only these devices will be able to use your Wi-Fi.
A home network is your gateway to the World Wide Web. If your network is not secure, it can disrupt your online experience and give way to data breaches. To prevent that from happening, implement the aforementioned network security tips and enjoy safer browsing, streaming, gaming, remote working, shopping, and smart home management, etc.