Hargray Tips: 8 Ways to Protect Your Home Network

You lock your doors, your garage, and your car doors inside your garage. You set up cameras and sensors, and maybe even put up signs to let people know.

You protect your home and your family from unwanted intruders. And it’s time you did the same for your network. Every day, you and your family use your Wi-Fi router to share personal information from passwords to PIN numbers, and these are the new targets for home invasion.

So, do to your network as you do to the rest of your home — lock it up with these security recommendations.

  1. Change the Administration Password

Most manufacturers today pre-load their routers with randomized user ids and passwords; however, some older routers include default information that can easily be used to compromise your network. For instance, the Linksys password is “admin” by default.  As a first step toward securing your home network, changing your user id and password, is a good idea.

  1. Change the Network Name

If you’ve ever searched for a Wi-Fi signal, you’ve seen the generic names that start with Linksys or Netgear. Those are networks that haven’t been changed, making it easier for others to gain access. Changing your SSID (service set identifier) regularly from the start will help keep unwanted people from siphoning your bandwidth.

  1. Enable Wireless MAC Filtering

Wireless MAC Filtering is a security feature that denies access to all wireless clients except those listed. A Media Access Control address (also known as a physical address) is a unique hardware identifier assigned to every network device. Please be aware that MAC filtering can be defeated by a skilled technician using a network traffic capture program. There are rarely attempts to discover and duplicate MAC addresses to access home networks, so the security is sufficient for most users.

  1. Encryption

All routers now have encryption options. You may recognize them as WPA2 Personal or WPA Personal. Set it to AES, and then enter a password or network key.

  1. Firewalls

Most routers also have firewalls built in to protect from external attacks, and some even activate automatically. If not, do so to provide another lock between your digital information and cyber criminals.

  1. Turn off Guest Networks

While it might be convenient to offer Wi-Fi access to guests without a password, this leaves you incredibly vulnerable to people you don’t trust on your network – depending on the location of your router, people outside your home may even be able to access your network. By requiring a Wi-Fi password and changing it regularly, you can be assured that you know and trust everyone using your guest network.

  1. Update Firmware

Know how your computer constantly bugs you with software updates? Your router wants to do that, too. You should regularly look for firmware updates by navigating through your router settings. This will make sure holes in your router’s stock security are patched before someone else finds them.

  1. Turn off WPS

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) allows devices to be paired with the network with the push of a button, completely leaping over the need for a password. Ease of setup is a great thing, but that’s an unlocked door to your vault. While true someone would need physical access to the router to gain access, it’s too easy. Turning of WPS is the safer option.

Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409751,00.asp