It’s not just unsecured public networks that can leave you vulnerable to hackers – your home WiFi could also be at risk. Thankfully, there are five easy ways to better ensure you and your data are well protected.
1. Change the defaults
Your router is likely to have come with a default name and password – and it’s quite unlikely you’ve gone to the effort of changing it. Doing so, however, could save you in the long run. This will not only allow you to set a stronger password than what was automatically generated (assuming you follow password best practice in doing so), but also keep the credentials exclusive to those who you’ve personally given them.
2. Ensure you’re encrypted
The best WiFi routers offer end-to-end encryption, as well as built-in firewalls. The encryption capabilities ensure data is protected as it journeys between your devices and router, making it worthless for hackers to try and intercept.
It’s likely your device already has encryption built in but it’s worth checking (and ensuring it’s switched on). If not, either turn it on or think about a hardware upgrade.
3. Keep your router central
This may be easier said than done with the way your home is set up, but keeping your router in the middle of your home has myriad benefits. It will ensure you get optimal signal wherever you are in the house (as routers send out signal 360 degrees – meaning if it’s at the front of your home, signal could actually be better out on the street than in some bedrooms, for example).
From a security side, it also means anyone outside your home trying to get access will find their connection strength to have been intentionally throttled.
4. Create a guest network
Visitors to your home are unlikely to be up to no good – but that doesn’t stop them from accidentally infecting your system if their devices contain viruses or malware. As CNET’s David Anders explains, a separate guest network will protect you from this, whilst also providing a great solution for a way to connect any smart cameras or IoT (Internet of Things) devices, which “are perhaps more easily hackable than a smarter device such as a computer or phone.”
5. Look for WPA3
WPA3 is the latest security standard for WiFi routers, having come into wide use in 2018. If your router pre-dates this it’s likely to only be WPA2 compliant, and therefore less secure. Buy a new router (or ask your provider to issue one) to easily give yourself much greater security built in.