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The Complete Guide to WiFi Security for Your Home Network

Mar 20, 2020

Without a secure network, you are vulnerable to cyberattacks. There’s no other way to put it. WiFi security is an absolute must, especially in an era with so many connected devices. The more devices that are connected to your wireless home network, the more channels you leave open for hackers to waltz on in.

There is always a smarter way to do your smart home, and it always starts with WiFi security. If your home network is already as protected as possible, then this article can be a healthy reminder if you need it.

But if you are starting from scratch and if your home wireless network is not secure, this article is one that you need. You can use it as a checklist or guide to make sure that your home network is as protected as possible. If you are starting from scratch then first thing’s first, let’s define what it is that you are protecting: your home network.

What is a home wireless network?

A home network is made up of multiple devices that connect through the internet. A wireless home network means that all of your devices can connect to one another without using wires. We all know this as WiFi.

While a wired home network can offer a more reliable connection every time you connect to the internet, it can be a cluttered mess and it is inconvenient. A wireless network is more efficient. Hands down.

Without any protection, your home network is incredibly vulnerable, especially if your home network is wireless. That is why you need to make sure that you protect your wireless home network.

Why you need to protect your home network

On its own, your wireless home network is vulnerable. With any protective measures, your router (and everything connected to it) is open for hackers.

Protecting your network will help keep cyber attackers from getting access to your privacy – or at least make it difficult for them to get in. Here’s what you should do to protect your home network:

How to protect your home network

There are a handful of things you need to do to make sure that your entire home network is protected from attackers. So far, we have thrown a lot of information at you and we know that at a first glance, home networking can feel overwhelming.

Fortunately, these security measures are not too difficult and time consuming to do. We want to make sure that the checklist to follow is informative, but not too overwhelming to get through. If you are going to take measures to secure your home network (which you definitely need to) here are the ones to prioritize:

Change any default names and addresses

To better secure your home network, you need to change the name of your WiFi network. The default names that come from router manufacturers and your internet service provider (ISP) are too easy for cyber attackers to guess.

You can change your WiFi network name, or Service Set Identifier (SSID), to anything you want, as long as it is unique. Good things to avoid when naming you network are things like:

  • You or your family’s name
  • Your address
  • “WiFi”
  • Any other private information

Just like your network name, your password needs to be unique and strong (if not stronger).

Set strong passwords

To make sure that your password is strong, you should think of it more like a passphrase rather than password. Make sure that it is long and difficult to guess. A great tool to use is a passwords generator.

Another tool to use once you have created your passwords is a password manager. Using a password manager is a way to keep track of all of your passwords without writing them down somewhere where anyone can get to them. This way, you can make sure that every password is different, and you won’t have to memorize them all.

Encrypt your network

Encrypting your network is another must. What you need to know is that WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) is the correct encryption that you need for your home network.

WPA2 is an authentication standard, also known as a WiFi Security Key. Basically, it is the password to connect to your wireless network, modem or router.

Use a VPN

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a connection method with added security and privacy that you should use when you connect to any public WiFi network. Public WiFi and hotspots have huge risks for cyberattacks, because these networks are usually unprotected and vulnerable. If you don’t want strangers breaking into your private information, use a VPN.

Turn off your wireless network(s) when you’re not using

Away on vacation? Awesome! Turn off your WiFi network since you are not using it. Why leave your network wide open when you are not there using it?

Even if you are home, if the devices that you are using don’t always need to be connected (looking at smart devices) or if you are sleeping and not using your Internet, then turn off your network or disconnect those devices.

The more times you are connected, the more chances outsiders can hack your network.  

Update your router

You want to make sure that your router is always at its peak performance. Since your router is the heart of your WiFi at home, updating its firmware is crucial. Updates exist for a reason, often to patch and bugs or issues. Keeping your router updated will help keep it protected.

If you are working with an outdated router, you will want to update your router hardware to a modern model. This will also help with your router performance. And if you are dealing with a weak WiFi signal, updating your router can help, or you can rely on WiFi network extenders.

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