Your home Wi-Fi network has become an essential part of your life—bringing entertainment services into your house, supporting your children’s need for educational content, and enabling you to shop, bank and work from home.
But if a hacker gets hold of your Wi-Fi password, they might be able to access sensitive data stored on your computers and mobile devices. Or a freeloader could use your network to download big files without your permission, slowing it down to a crawl. Alcatel suggests some ways to keep your network secure:
- Change the default name of your Wi-Fi network
Depending on where you got your router, it might have a default service set identifier (SSID) or name. It may also publicly broadcast this name to anyone searching for a Wi-Fi network. It makes sense therefore to change the name of the network and even to turn off network name broadcasting to make it harder to access it.
- Set up a complex password
It goes without saying that you should set up a password for your Wi-Fi network rather than allowing anyone to connect freely. Choose a complex password that will not be easy for someone else to guess – your name or a string of numbers like “124567891011” isn’t good enough.
- Avoid sharing your password
When guests come by, they may ask for your password so they can use the Internet. When it’s family, friends or your children’s friends, it might be reasonable to share it with them. If it’s a stranger, like a plumber doing some work in your house, it might be best not to share it.
Either way, if you often allowed someone from outside your household access to your Wi-Fi, consider changing the password regularly. You can’t be sure, for example, that your child’s best friend won’t lose the piece of paper you wrote the password on or even share it with someone else.
- Turn on encryption
Most Wi-Fi routers include an encryption feature such as WPA2, but not all of them enable it by default. Check the manual or online help to find out how to see if it’s enabled on your router. If not, turning it on will give your network security a boost.
- Keep the firmware updated
The firmware, or software which powers the router, may contain security vulnerabilities that the manufacturer will fix with new releases from time-to-time. Some routers automatically update the firmware, but it is wise to check whether yours is up-to-date with the latest security patches.
- Disable remote access and WPS
Some routers allow remote administrator access from outside your home. It can be wise to disable this feature when you don’t need to use it. Also check whether your device has Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS. This feature is meant to let you connect new devices with a button push or a PIN code. But it can be a security vulnerability, allowing anyone with physical access to the router to connect to your network. The PIN code might also be easier to guess than the password. Considering disabling WPS if you are particularly security-conscious.