You aim to keep your home secure, but are you keeping your home network open?
A protected home network shuts out cybercriminals and allows your family to use the internet more safely.
Keep a Clean Machine
First, keep clean machines by ensuring all internet-enabled devices are running the latest operating system, web browsers and security software. This includes mobile devices that access your wireless network.
Secure Your Wireless Router
A wireless network is when you connectt an internet access point – such as a cable or DSL modem – to a wireless router. Wireless is now essential in many homes because it allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet from different areas of your home. However, if you don’t secure your router, you’re vulnerable to people accessing information on your computer, freeloading off your internet service and, potentially, using your network to commit cybercrimes.
Here are ways to secure your wireless router:
Change the name of your router
The default ID – called a “service set identifier” (SSID) or “extended service set identifier” (ESSID ) – is assigned by the manufacturer. Change your router to a name that is unique to you and won’t be easily guessed by others.
Change the preset passphrase on your router
Keeping the router’s manufacturer default passphrase in place makes it much easier for hackers to access your network. Change your router’s passphrase right away. A strong passphrase uses at least 12 characters long and includes letter, numbers and symbols. The strongest passphrases are not recognizable words.
Review security options
When choosing your router’s level of security, opt for WPA2, if available, or WPA – these levels are more secure than the WEP option.
Create a guest passphrase
Some routers allow for guests to use networks via separate guest passphrases. If you have many visitors to your home, it’s a good idea to set up a second network just for guests.
Use a firewall
Firewalls keep hackers from using your device to send out your personal information without your permission. While antivirus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for attempts to access your system and blocking communications with sources you don’t permit. Your operating system and/or security software likely comes with a pre-installed firewall, but make sure you turn on these features.
Protect your accounts with these tips:
Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Whenever offered, use 2-factor authentication or MFA like biometrics, security keys or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device.
Use long, unique passphrases
Remember, length trumps complexity. Use letters, numbers and symbols.