Home networks consist of a group of devices that connect to the internet such as computers, smartphones, tablets, game systems, printers, and wearable devices. These devices are connect in two ways:
- A wired network that can connect with printers and scanners
- A wireless network that can connect with devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets without wires
It is crucial to have a secure home network to ensure internet safety. Hackers can gain access to vulnerable networks and commit cybercrimes including data and identity theft, installing malware, and creating botnets. If you are looking for ways to secure your home network, here is a list of steps you need to follow to use the internet safely:
Change the Default Name of Your Home Network
Your home network’s name is referred to as Service Set Identifier (SSID). First of all, you need to change your network’s name to make it secure. Start by viewing the list of nearby Wi-Fi networks available on your smartphone or laptop. These SSIDs are broadcasted by routers to help nearby devices find all the available networks.
SSIDs can contain up to 32 characters in length, combining the company name with random letters and numbers. It is best to change the default SSID of your router because:
- With a unique network name, you can prevent your router from hackers as the unique name indicates that your router is carefully managed
- It is very easy for the hackers to find out the default name of the router, enabling them to crack through the network and exploit the vulnerability
- You can avoid the risk of disclosing the specifications of your router like the brand name or the model number, that is usually present in the default network name
In addition to this, you should refrain from using identifiers that may include your personal information such as your name, contact number, or address. You can also avoid hackers by using a bland name for your SSID so that they are unable to scan Wi-Fi networks in your area.
Use a Strong Password for Your Router
Most wireless routers have default passwords that can be tracked by hackers if they know the name of the manufacturer of your router. Hence, you can ensure greater security for your home network by changing the password from the default one. You can connect to your router’s management interface via a web browser using the router’s default IP address. This piece of information is usually mentioned at the bottom of the router, or inquire the manufacturer otherwise.
Your new password should contain at least 12 characters with a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols. It is best to change your password every six months for a secure home network.
Strengthen your Wi-Fi Encryption
Most Wi-Fi routers have an encryption feature that may be turned off by default. You can secure your network by turning on the encryption setting on the router. There are four main types of Wi-Fi protection systems for secure transmissions between the user’s device and the Wi-Fi router:
- (WPA) Wi-Fi Protected Access
- (WPA 2) Wi-Fi Protected Access 2
- Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA 3)
- Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
If you are looking for ways to secure Wi-Fi, choose WPA 2 and WPA 3 since they are relatively newer and more secure than the other options. On the other hand, the older versions of WPA and WEP are susceptible to brute force attacks.
Check if your router gives you the option to create a guest wireless network with WPA 2 or WPA 3 for visitors at home. It will help increase your home network security.
Use a VPN for Additional Network Security
Virtual private networks (VPNs) can improve your privacy on the internet by encrypting your data and preventing hackers from accessing sensitive information like your browsing history or location. A VPN can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops. Your data will remain unreadable with a VPN encryption even if your router’s encryption is compromised. Moreover, VPN changes your IP address to show that your device is used from another location instead of your home address.
Keep Your Router Firmware up to Date
Your router firmware keeps your software up to date as a cybersecurity practice. On the contrary, older firmware is vulnerable to exploitation by hackers. Some routers may offer automatic firmware updates. You can visit your vendor’s website to check if they have any updates available for your router model.
Use a Firewall to Protect the Devices on Your Network
The main purpose of a home firewall is to protect all the devices connected to your network from online intruders. It allows devices on your network to be connected to the internet while acting as a one-way digital barrier to control other unauthorized devices from accessing your network. Usually, routers have a network firewall enabled by default. However, if your router does not come with a firewall, you can prevent router attacks by installing a home firewall solution on your system.
Change Your Router’s IP Address
Hackers can easily find out the default router IP address. Therefore, you should change your router’s IP address to ensure protection from router attacks. You can change your IP address by logging into the router admin console to look up LAN/DHCP or network settings. Once changed, save it and note it down to access your router settings. If you want to change your IP address again, restore your router to its factory settings.
Set up a Separate Network for IoT Devices
The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to physical devices apart from smartphones, computers, and servers that can be connected to the internet and exchange data with other devices. Some of the examples of IoT devices are:
- Smart refrigerators
- Fitness trackers
- Voice assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo
There are a few cybersecurity implications of the Internet of Things:
- Not all IoT devices have a great security record
- The number of devices connected to the internet determines the potential entry points for hackers
If you want to avoid router attacks and maximize router security, you can set up a different Wi-Fi network for your IoT devices known as a virtual local area network (VLAN). VLAN ensures that your less secure IoT devices and most valuable devices (such as phones and computers) remain on different networks.
Turn off Universal Plug and Play
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is used by devices such as phones, computers, and printers, to discover, configure, and control devices on the same network. It can be used by malware programs to get access to your router’s security settings, allowing hackers to infect devices.
Disable Remote Access to Protect Your Network from Intruders
Some routers come with features, such as remote access from anywhere. You can turn off these features using the router settings panel to prevent the risk of intruders accessing your router.
Use MAC Address Filtering to Keep Unwanted Devices off Your Network
A Media Access Controller (MAC) address is use to identify devices on a network. By enabling MAC address filtering, you can avoid attackers from connecting to a network.
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Position Your Router
Place your router in the center of your home to evenly distribute network access. Similarly, you can save it from hackers by keeping it away from doors and windows. If you live in a two-story home, it is better to place the router on the highest shelf of the lower level to allow good coverage of signals for both levels.
With the help of these steps, you can increase your internet security for a safer browsing experience. If you are looking for the best internet plans and packages, check out AT&T internet Always add a header to separate the conclusion from the rest of the article. Always try to build some context around the keyword to add it seamlessly within the article. Always try to build some context around the keyword to add it seamlessly within the article.
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