How to best secure your home network against cyber-threats

Being online all the time and remaining connected has become an integral part of our lives. We use our phones to navigate the world, check emails, and keep in touch with friends and family, especially those abroad. Today’s technology is so interconnected that it is nearly impossible to live a normal life without being exposed to the internet and the devices that connect us to the web. While we can think of many advantages that wireless connectivity has brought us, being online all the time has also made us vulnerable to hackers and cyber-criminals.

Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest challenges of the digital age. In the contemporary world, almost every industry is at risk of a cyberattack — from banks and retailers to hospitals and government agencies. No one is immune. Many homes are also often the target of cyber hacks and invasions, in fact, a Clark School study at the University of Maryland revealed that there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. And the consequences of a cyberattack can be devastating — not only in terms of the money and resources that are lost when a system is breached but also in the impact on our privacy, our security and our sense of wellbeing.

Understanding your wireless network

The topic of cybersecurity is often talked about, but few people know how to approach it. The first step is to understand what cybersecurity actually means. The term is used to describe the measures that we take to protect our digital assets from being compromised. The most basic form of cybersecurity is the use of passwords and other security measures to protect our digital devices.

Understanding your home wireless network security is essential in preventing any cyber invasions and protecting your device from hackers. Approximately 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. If by any means, cybercriminals gain access to your local network, they can easily access your personal data by listening to your internet traffic. Hackers and cybercriminals can then launch various attacks against your Wifi security and also engage in data theft or ransomware.

The concept of cybersecurity seems daunting, and you might contemplate installing firewalls and upping your security software. Many service providers and operators already have solid security measures in place to ensure their customers never go through such experiences. However, there are many simple ways you can boost your network protection and effectively secure your home’s Wifi security system against these attacks.

 

Top five ways to secure your wireless home network

We’ve compiled five of the best and simplest ways you can ensure proper security of your home Wifi system. Many of these tips will significantly decrease any hacking risks that your Wifi-enabled devices can face.

1. Change the default name and password of your home network

Wireless routers typically arrive with a default network name and password and use WPA2 security to guard access to your router. This name and password are used for all devices that wish to connect to your router. However, these default settings are often not secure and should be changed to something more user-friendly. Changing the settings of your router to something more secure provides an extra layer of protection for you and your family.

Here’s how you can easily change the default name, also known as SSID, and password of your home network:

Open the windows command prompt and type in ‘ipconfig’. This will locate your IP address for you, and you’ll need to enter it into your browser’s address box. Next, enter your router’s original login credentials and open Wifi settings. Now, you’ll be able to change your SSID and password.

Note: Remember to use a phrase unique to your device. Avoid using any personal data, such as names or birthdays.

2. Keep your firmware up to date

Wifi router firmware refers to low-level software which controls everything the router does. More importantly, it sets security standards for the network, monitors connected devices, and defines rules regarding which devices can connect.

Updating the firmware on your router is one of the best ways to keep it secure, run the latest security patches, and avoid known security vulnerabilities. Most modern routers come with a built-in mechanism for updating the firmware automatically through the router’s web interface, which also means that you don’t have to keep contacting your internet service provider or technical support team to have your router firmware updated.

It’s a good idea to keep the firmware on your home network devices up to date, as older versions of the firmware often contain known vulnerabilities. For example, keeping the web interface on your home printer updated means that you aren’t at risk of a hack when using that printer to print sensitive documents. Similarly, routers like Xunison’s Wifi Mesh router offer automatic firmware updates and continuously monitor devices to detect any suspicious activity.

3. Disable remote access to your wireless router

Many routers come with features that allow you to access your Wifi network from outside your house or anywhere you have an internet connection. Although this sounds like a convenient way to manage your wireless network remotely, it can act as a hole in your router or a security vulnerability in your operating system or application. The risk for potential hacking only increases if you haven’t changed default router settings, which means anyone can access your wireless password and network.

Unless you absolutely require the remote feature, we advise turning remote access features off from the router settings panel.

4. Use a guest network

A guest network is a network created on a wireless router only accessible to devices that are connected to your router. If you don’t want to give temporary users access to your entire network, you can create a guest network on your wireless router and reserve it for any individuals outside primary users. This helps you control which devices have access to your router, and it limits the access of those devices to your main network.

Guest networks also prevent any temporary users or potential hackers from accessing your entire network, which can reduce the risk of a data breach. It prevents any potential leaks of private data, and accidental changes in settings and lowers the risk of hackers invading your network. Even if a hacker is able to access your guest network, they won’t be able to take control of other devices or your router.

5. Use a firewall to protect devices on your network

Firewalls are another crucial component of a secure home network. A firewall is a security tool used to protect your network from unauthorized access by blocking specific types of traffic. In a home network, a firewall safeguards your wireless router from attacks that could occur over the internet.

They act as a one-way digital barrier by blocking access to your network from random devices on the internet while allowing your devices on your network to connect safely to other devices. Many routers come with built-in network firewalls, so ensure that yours is enabled. If your router does not have one, you can take precautionary measures and install a good home firewall solution on your system.

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