How to Protect Your Home Wi-Fi Network From Hackers and Freeloaders Right Now

How to Protect Your Home Wi-Fi Network From Hackers and Freeloaders Right Now

More than 10 devices are currently linked to the home Wi-Fi network in the average US home. Things quickly pile up, ranging from laptops and tablets to phones, wearables, and streaming devices. And with so much information kept on those devices, including login credentials, bank account information, credit card numbers, and other private and sensitive data, you want to be sure you’re shielding yourself from hackers in the event that your network is ever breached.

Hacking into home networks does occur far too regularly. In 2021, internet crime cost individuals more than $6.9 billion, and while phishing and scams played a role in the losses, personal data breaches also played a sizable role. A safe home network will lessen the chance that someone will hack into it and gain access to your private data. Additionally, it will block out any unauthorized or undesirable people or gadgets that can slow down your connection or waste your paid-for internet access.

A secure home Wi-Fi network can be set up and maintained with relative ease. Ten recommendations for network security are provided below. While some are better than others at deterring hackers and freeloaders, they are all beneficial in their own unique ways. Although nothing will completely protect you against hacking efforts, following these suggestions will make it much more difficult for someone to compromise your network and data.

How to protect the Wi-Fi network at home

Here are some fundamental security measures for your home Wi-Fi network. For additional information on each, continue reading.

1. Put your router in a prominent place.

2. Establish a secure Wi-Fi password and update it frequently.

3. Modify the router’s default login information.

4. Turn on Wi-Fi encryption and the firewall.

5. Establish a visitor network.

6. Employ a VPN.

7. Maintain device and router updates.

8. Block access to the router remotely.

9. Check all attached devices.

10. Upgrade your router to WPA3.

Put your router in a visible location.

The first step to good network security is smart configuration. If at all possible, place your router in the middle of your home. It will be easier to maintain your connection inside the confines of your home if you strategically place your router in the middle of your home because routers send wireless signals in all directions. Additionally, it is likely to produce the best connection quality.

Positioning your router close to a shared wall can convey an attractive and potent signal to your nearby neighbors, for example, if you have internet access in an apartment and they are on your left and right.

Make your Wi-Fi password strong and change it frequently.

It should go without saying, but I’ll mention it anyway to highlight how crucial it is. To maintain a secure connection, you must create a special password for your Wi-Fi network. Avoid using terms or phrases that are simple to guess, such as someone’s name, birthday, phone number, or other well-known details. Simple Wi-Fi passwords are simple to remember, but they are also simple for others to decipher. (To update your Wi-Fi password, use these steps to access your router’s settings.)

Change your password at least every six months or if you suspect a security breach in your network.

Modify the router’s default login information.

In a manner similar to password-protecting your Wi-Fi network, you’ll also want to prevent unauthorized users from having direct access to your router’s settings. Change your router’s admin username and password now to accomplish this. Although most routers and service providers provide an app that gives you access to the same settings and data, you can log in to your router’s settings by entering its IP address into the URL bar.

Your Wi-Fi network name and password are different from your login information for the router. You should be able to locate the default on the bottom of the router if you are unsure of what it is.

Firewall and Wi-Fi encryption should be enabled.

The majority of routers come equipped with a firewall to guard against outside hacking and Wi-Fi encryption to prevent eavesdropping on data going back and forth between your router and connected devices. Although both are usually turned on by default, you should double-check.

Once you’ve figured out how to log into your router’s settings, double-check that the firewall and Wi-Fi encryption are both turned on. Turn them on if they are currently off for whatever reason. You’ll be grateful to your network security.

Establish a guest WiFi network.

It’s a question that all hosts have certainly heard: “Can I get the Wi-Fi password?” Consider setting up a separate guest network for guests before granting them access to your primary home network. While I’m not implying that your visitors will try to exploit your main Wi-Fi connection for any nefarious purposes, their devices or anything they download while connected to your network may be infected with malware or viruses that target your network without their knowledge.

Your IoT devices, such as Wi-Fi cameras, thermostats, and smart speakers—things that might not retain a lot of important information and are perhaps easier to attack than a less-smart device like a computer or phone—are also suitable for a guest network.

Apply a VPN

Network security is unquestionably one of the benefits of using a reliable VPN. A virtual private network conceals your IP address and Wi-Fi activity, including browsing information, among other things.

VPNs can still increase the security and privacy of your home network, albeit they are usually more beneficial while linked to a public network. Although some VPNs are superior than others, you frequently get what you pay for with everything. Free VPN services are accessible, but just a little more will get you a much better, more secure service (really, just a few dollars each month).

Update your router and other devices.

The times you need to be online the most often seem to coincide with software updates. Although they may cause annoyance, they serve a function, which frequently include security upgrades. Companies issue updates and fixes to reduce or remove the risk when they become aware of possible or exposed security vulnerabilities. You should download them.

Maintaining the most recent updates on your router and linked devices can assist ensure that you have the best defense against known malware and hacking efforts. If it’s feasible, set your router to automatically update in the admin settings. Then, make sure it gets updated on a regular basis.

Turn off router remote access

Anyone who isn’t directly connected to your Wi-Fi network can access the router settings via remote access. There shouldn’t be a need to enable remote access unless you need to verify or modify the setup of a connected device belonging to a child while you’re away from home, for example.

Remote access can be turned off in the router’s administrative settings. Disabled remote router access might not be the default, in contrast to other security measures.

Check linked devices

Check your network’s linked devices frequently to make sure you are aware of what they are. Disconnect it and update your Wi-Fi password if anything there seems suspect. After resetting your password, you’ll need to reconnect all previously connected devices, but any unauthorized users or devices will be removed from your network.

Some devices, particularly esoteric IoT ones, could have strange default names made up of arbitrary digits and letters that you aren’t familiar with. When inspecting your linked devices, look for anything like that, and then disconnect it. You’ll know that’s what it was when your robot vacuum cleaner won’t start from your phone in the future.

Upgrade in a WPA3 router.

The most recent security protocol for routers is WPA3. If you purchase a new router, you shouldn’t have any concerns regarding WPA3 since all new routers should have it. However, a lot of individuals rent their routers directly from the provider, thus they might not have the most recent technology available.

You might have a WPA2 device, which lacks the same level of security measures as more recent WPA3 devices, if your router was manufactured before 2018. You can find out when your device was released and any special characteristics, like whether it has WPA2 or WPA3, by quickly searching for the model of your device. Call your provider and request a better, more modern router if you now use a WPA2 router.

No guarantee of network security.

Again, security will never be 100 percent guaranteed, even with the most modern and efficient techniques for protecting your home network. Hackers and other cybercriminals will continue to develop ways to abuse the internet as long as it exists. However, with the above-mentioned advice, you may perhaps better protect your network from anyone attempting to use your connection or access your data.

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