5 home security tips for your home network
Keeping your home network secure is important. Whether it’s holding on to your banking information or just keeping your web history private, there’s a lot more to be done than letting the cable guy run cords. If you’re trying to get a more secure home network going then read on and follow these helpful tips.
1. Change Your Default Settings
Many people are tempted to leave their router doing the default thing. After all, most modern routers come with a secure password and a complicated network name.
Unfortunately, it’s not a good idea to keep them. As soon as you boot your router for the first time you should get ready to change them to something else.
Here’s the problem: the default settings for your router give information to someone who’s trying to gain access. That can include the password since the manufacturers all have patterns.
Indeed, almost all of the security precautions you can take boil down to changing simple settings. It’s a surprisingly user-friendly process, especially if you have Google open to help with any questions.
Changing the name obfuscates the router’s brand, and changing the password is just good practice. Speaking of which…
2. Use a Secure Password
Passwords are a controversial matter.
The problem is this: most of us grew up with the ever-increasing demands on our passwords. Upper and lowercase, numbers, and symbols have become the norm. Many people use online generators or just go with a relatively random and incomprehensible series of characters.
Brute force programs don’t just run through the possible combinations these days. There are also programs that perform “dictionary” attacks that target common words.
There are two trains of thought here: the idea that shorter passwords with symbols and numbers are the way to go and those who insist that longer passwords are the way to go.
In order to evade programs, you can’t use any combination which is likely to show up in a dictionary attack. Brute forcing a 12+ character password takes days, even if the hacker is using a botnet.
A password that’s hard to remember isn’t necessarily better, but longer passwords comprised of easily remembered words may be a risk as well.
Keep in mind home networks are rarely breached this way, but good passwords are just good security practices across the board.
3. Encrypt Your Network
Running encryption makes it harder for your information to be obtained over the network.
You might get that fancy new shop vac on an unsecured network and then find your financial information has been stolen by a sniffer. It’s an actual risk to an at-home network, so encryption is key.
Routers have it built-in as a simple option. Any of the various WPA2 options are great, creating another barrier to accessing your network.
Many routers default to WEP, which is an older encryption model that’s less secure. Just double check through your router’s menu and set it appropriately. It can make all the difference if someone is attempting to intrude on your network.
4. Change Default Administration Settings
Most routers come with a default setting for access.
And the majority of users never change it. That means anyone on your network can hit the ol’ 192.168.1.1 address and do whatever they’d like with your router… including locking you out.
Just a simple change of username and password is enough to prevent this. Even a terrible password adds another layer of security for an intruder.
It’s a simple fix and one that even experienced users sometimes forget. You can go change it right now, it’s an extremely simple process. Just don’t neglect it like most people do.
5. Physical Access Barriers
Physical access to a device always makes it easier to intrude. The truth is that once physical access to your router is achieved, all other security measures are pretty much moot. A paper clip and thirty seconds is enough to reset most routers to default.
So, if you’re particularly worried, then you may wish to create some extra security barriers.
You don’t necessarily need to lock up like Fort Knox and invest in half a dozen Rottweilers to keep things safe. Just consider moving the router out of the common area of the house and into somewhere more private like a bedroom.
If someone is actually trying to get access, this is a vital step. Of course, this kind of threat hits close to home and these steps are rarely needed. Still, better safe than sorry!
Make a Safer Home Network
Considering how much of our information is spread through wireless channels these days, it’s important to ensure that we have the best home network security possible. The truth is that it’s much more basic than many people think, it’s often just ignorance that holds people back. It’s no longer an excuse, so start taking the steps to secure your network today!