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Our home has always felt like a safe zone. We keep the doors locked. The kids know not to let strangers in. I even invested in a wireless camera to monitor outside activity.
Turns out our family isn’t quite as protected as I thought, though.
The problem is our Wi-Fi network. I’ve never looked at Wi-Fi as a way to gain entry into our house. It is. According to federal statistics, Internet crime accounted for more than $4 billion in damages in 2020. That’s a hefty reason to take some steps to make anyone’s home Wi-Fi harder to hack.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a tech degree to make your personal Wi-Fi inaccessible to unwanted cyber snoops. It just requires you to make some changes, many of which can be done right away.
We’ve all created passwords that are easy to remember. But if they’re a no-brainer for you, they’re a no-brainer for everyone else. Just as you should change your login passwords regularly, update your Wi-Fi network password, too. While you’re at it, give your router admin password a refresh as well. With two hyper-strong passwords, your Wi-Fi network will be tough to get into.
Want to take your password protection to the next level? See if your router allows you to set up a guest Wi-Fi network. A guest Wi-Fi network is suitable for anyone who visits like your babysitter or the kid who mows your lawn. Why? You can set it up to have very limited access to anything beyond an Internet connection. Be sure your guest network password is airtight, too.
Maybe you work at home and rely on your Wi-Fi to get your job done. And perhaps you depend on Wi-Fi to keep all your gadgets connected. To optimize your home Wi-Fi and keep intruders out, you may want to add a secondary layer of protection.
As adaptive Wi-Fi technology provider Plume explains, your remote working and Internet of Things (IoT) needs can cause digital security gaps. The way to close these vulnerabilities may be to arrange for a more advanced cybersecurity setup. That way, you can get real-time alerts, see who’s using your Wi-Fi at all times, and steer clear of malware and other threats. It could be worth seeing if your employer would be willing to help cover the cost of added protection, especially if you regularly telecommute. It never hurts to ask, particularly since it’s in the best interest of your company.
We’ve had our router for so long that I’ve forgotten when it was first installed by our Internet Service Provider (ISP). I took it for granted that the router was still up to date. I was wrong. After doing some digging, I discovered that it was running under a WPA protocol. In other words, we had very weak Wi-Fi security and never knew it.
To fix this issue, I requested a new WPA2 router. WPA2 and WPA3 are considered the most secure of the available protocols. The only reason I didn’t go for WPA3 security is that I wasn’t sure all our smart devices could handle it. If you don’t get your router through your ISP, you can buy one online or through a big box retailer.
Many routers allow you to connect all your devices to the router using Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). Sometimes, all you have to do is push a button and, voila, the connection is complete. Other times, you may have to enter a short PIN. Either way, the process is painless and fast.
Here’s the issue: WPS can be yet another back door way for unwanted visitors to access information via your Wi-Fi. Plus, it’s not really that much quicker than having a secure password. If you absolutely can’t live without WPS, at least disable your PIN option. That way, you’ll at least have to physically push a button to connect your new assistant to the Internet.
Most of us are careful about not logging onto the wrong network when we’re away from home. However, we tend to let our guards down when we’re in our castles. As you head into back-to-school and a possible increase in your family’s online use, make a few Wi-Fi changes. You’ll feel even better about the safety of your surroundings.
Image credit: Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels