Is your home wireless network (Wi-Fi) safe from snooping criminals?
Are your neighbors “borrowing” the Internet access you’re paying for? Wi-Fi is incredibly convenient, but anyone within range of your Wi-Fi can eavesdrop on the information you send and receive – including your email, financial account data and passwords.
Securing your devices and information
Secure your Wi-Fi with WPA2 and a strong password
Configuring your router to use WPA2 is one of the best options for securing your Wi-Fi network. If WPA2 isn’t an option, use WPA, but stay away from using WEP, which is an outdated standard that offers almost zero protection.
Finally, choose a strong password to secure your Wi-Fi. In the configuration options, look for Pre-Shared Key or PSK. This is the password that you’ll use for all devices connecting to your Wi-Fi.
Secure access to the wireless router
Most routers come with a default password, or no password at all, that’s used to access its settings.
These default passwords are well known to everyone, including online criminals.
When you set up your router use a strong password that’s different from the one you used to secure your Wi-Fi.
Change the wireless network name
Your neighbors and hackers in range of your Wi-Fi (called SSID) can read its name, so you should change it to something that only you recognize.
Here are a few additional tips you can use once you’ve secured your Wi-Fi using the steps above.
Turn off remote and wireless access to the router’s settings
This restricts access to the router’s settings to devices that are physically connected to the router by a network cable. This helps prevent someone on the Internet or within range of your Wi-Fi from logging into and tampering with your router’s settings. Update the settings to require HTTPS (and disable HTTP) to access the router’s settings. If you don’t have a computer connected to your router, you must use a wireless device to configure it.
Enable a guest network
Some routers can create a separate guest network with its own password and network name. This allows you to provide guests with Wi-Fi access without sharing your password or giving them access to the rest of your personal network.
Update your firmware
The term “firmware” refers to the software that drives hardware. It’s a good practice to check your router manufacturer’s site periodically to see if updates are available. If you do find firmware updates, be sure to install them. Firmware updates sometimes close newly discovered security holes in your router.
Search online for more help
Search online. You can find helpful tips and videos by searching online for your specific router (check the bottom of the device for the model number) or by reaching out to the router’s manufacturer or your Internet service provider.