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Keep Your Home Wi-Fi Safe in 7 Simple Steps

It is beginning to feel like the Internet is a basic necessity for existence in the 21st century. With all our devices connected to the Internet, we have an indescribable physical mobility that leads to increased productivity. It is safe to say that the Internet is for everyone and does not limit itself to the tech savvy. Unfortunately, when not safeguarded, the Internet can be a playground for nefarious activities caused by people with malicious intent.  

Take a home wireless network as an example. Almost every member of the family accesses it through laptops, PCs, cell phones and tablets. With the Internet of Things, there is a gamut of other elements in the home that access the Wi-Fi. A small vulnerability in the home Wi-Fi network can give a criminal access to almost all the devices that access that Wi-Fi. This could spell trouble for bank accounts, credit card details, child safety, and a whole lot of other concerns. 

The following tips can help secure your home Wi-Fi network against unauthorized access. 

1. Change the default name of your home Wi-Fi 

The first step towards a safer home Wi-Fi is to change the SSID (service set identifier). SSID is the network’s name. Many manufactures give all their wireless routers a default SSID. In most cases it is the company’s name. When a computer with a wireless connection searches for and displays the wireless networks nearby, it lists each network that publicly broadcasts its SSID. This gives a hacker a better chance of breaking into your network. It is better to change the network’s SSID to something that does not disclose any personal information thereby throwing hackers off their mission. 

2. Make your wireless network password unique and strong 

Most wireless routers come pre-set with a default password. This default password is easy to guess by hackers, especially if they know the router manufacturer. When selecting a good password for your wireless network, make sure it is at least 20 characters long and includes numbers, letters, and various symbols. This setting will make it difficult for hackers to access your network.  

3. Enabling network encryption 

Almost all wireless routers come with an encryption feature. By default it is turned off. Turning on your wireless router’s encryption setting can help secure your network. Make sure you turn it on immediately after your broadband provider installs the router. Of the many types of encryption available, the most recent and effective is “WPA2.” 

4. Turn off network name broadcasting  

When using a wireless router at home, it is highly recommended that you disable network name broadcasting to the general public. This feature is often useful for businesses, libraries, hotels and restaurants that want to offer wireless Internet access to customers, but it is usually unnecessary for a private wireless network.    

5. Keep your router’s software up to date 

Sometimes router’s firmware, like any other software, contains flaws that can become major vulnerabilities unless they are quickly fixed by firmware releases from the manufacturer. Always install the latest software available on the system and download the latest security patches to ensure no security hole or breach is left open to online predators. 

6. Make sure you have a good firewall 

A “firewall” is designed to protect computers from harmful intrusions. Wireless routers generally contain built-in firewalls but are sometimes shipped with the firewall turned off. Be sure to check that the wireless router’s firewall is turned on. In case your router doesn’t have such a firewall, make sure you install a good firewall solution on your system to watch for malicious access attempts to your wireless network. 

7. Use VPNs to access your network 

A virtual private network, or VPN, is a group of computers or networks that work together over the Internet. Individuals can use VPNs, like Norton WiFi Privacy as a method to secure and encrypt their communications. When you connect to a VPN, a VPN client is launched on your computer. When you log in with your credentials your computer exchanges keys with another server. Once both computers have verified each other as authentic, all your Internet communication is encrypted and secured from outside prying. 

Most of all, check what devices connect to your home network and make sure they have reliable security software like Norton Security installed against viruses and spyware.  

Comments

Kudos0

This would be more helpful if you gave solutions to fixing your wi-fi. Norton is nice but I find it difficult to do something specific like turning off network name broadcasting. Thanks for the tips.

Kudos0

I have since found out how to turn of network name broadcasting in my Internet router. That is a task in itself because it is hidden deeply in the router interface software.

Kudos0

There is zero - ZERO - point in turning off SSID broadcast.

Why have you added this piece of useless advice to your article. You do not indicate your reasons for turning it off - you just say you should.

Why?

Presumably it's so that hackers don't know your network is there? hahahaha. Ever used a wifi scanner before. They can tell you all of the networks available, they type of security implemented and even the approximate physical location of the broadcast. 

All you do by switching it off is make it harder for genuine users (aka you) to use your own wifi.

Kudos0

Hackers might be able to get your network, but your dumb neighbor won't.  
So no, there's not "ZERO point" in turning off broadcasting your SSID.

Kudos0
OMG. And what is your 'dumb neighbour' going to do with the network if the SSID is not hidden? Oh... They will try and connect with the password they do not have. Waste.of.time. Leave it visible. Wake up. Easy. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Kudos0

I don't understand why some people get so upset over not broadcasting an SSID.
It's perfectly ok to not broadcast your SSID, it doesn't hurt a thing.

Kudos0

It is clear you do not understand. The article is titled "Keep Your Home Wi-Fi Safe in 7 Simple Steps". Hiding your SSID does not add any safety to your wi-fi. It is a waste of time. You are welcome to hide your SSID - but please, let us not pedal lies about its' merits when it comes to security.

Kudos0

Oh yes wise master, it is so clear I do not understand. I guess Norton, and every other security company, is wrong. Because they ALL say to hide your SSID. It must be a conspiracy.

Kudos0
'Oh yes wise master' >>> Agreed 'it is so clear I do not understand' >>> Agreed 'I guess Norton, and every other security company, is wrong' >>> There is no room for guessing, that's your opinion. I do not agree. 'Because they ALL say to hide your SSID' >>> No they don't. Wrong. Another guess? ' It must be a conspiracy' >>> Really? What about climate change, the moon landings and the assassination of JFK. I look forward to your 'considered' reply.
Kudos0

I'm still non the wiser! How do I do all these things?

Kudos0

Stephen - If your router came with a manual, you need to check the manual for words Norton has provided you.  Or, if you have already learned how to access your router's administrative software, then you may prefer to just wander around in there until you find "these things", as you say.  Norton cannot tell you specifically how to operate your brand and model of router.  It's a learning spike, for sure.  If it's too much for you, it's possible that someone with a router similar to yours has posted a video on YouTube.  I hope one of those suggestions works for you.

Kudos0

I don't know why Nortons does get into the home firewall market. They would make a killing.

what protects all your electronics that are connected to the internet......Nothing besides your "STATEFUL PACKET INSPECTION" in your router.