WiFi Security at Home

Posted on December 20, 2012

Wireless networks (aka WiFi) are in pretty much every home out there. What most people aren’t aware of is how easy it is to inadvertently open them up to unauthorized access. By incorrectly configuring your wireless router you risk exposing your personal information, and having your internet service leveraged for illegal activities.

There are steps that can be taken to ensure that your home WiFi network is secure, such as:

  • Change the default admin username and password: All routers have a default password, and almost all of these passwords can be obtained by a simple internet search. Change the router’s username and password before making any other changes.
  • Disable WPS or WiFi Protected Setup: WPS is a less-secure way to connect to a WiFi network, and can be easier to crack. This can be disabled by logging into your router.
  • Change the WiFi SSID: The SSID is the name of your WiFi network. Change it to something unique that is not associated to you or your family.
  • Choose a strong encryption method: Do not leave your WiFi network unsecured or “open”. Select a strong encryption such as “WPA” or “WPA2”. DO NOT USE “WEP” encryption.
  • Choose a strong WiFi password/passphrase: Choose a passphrase that is unique, and difficult to guess. An example of a strong passphrase is: FG$$#gat1299MDB; more than 8 characters, alphanumeric with non-standard characters included, not a dictionary word.
  • Change your WiFi passphrase regularly:  Anyone you’ve given the password to will have access to your WiFi network, and you cannot always guarantee the secrecy of your passphrase in the hands of others. Changing your passphrase regularly will help protect you should your passphrase be obtained by an untrustworthy source.
  • Disable access when not in use: If you plan on leaving your home for a long period of time, for example while on vacation, power off your router. This will ensure that no one will be able to gain unauthorized access while you are away.
  • Enable MAC filtering: Every computer or device that connects to a WiFi network has its own unique identifier; a MAC address similar to the license plate on your vehicle. By enabling MAC filtering you can restrict access to the MAC addresses you pre-installed into your router. Every other address is rejected.

Many of these settings can be easily configured with the help of your router’s quick-start guide or user manual. If you have questions or would like assistance with your WiFi network, please contact our helpdesk for a consultation.