Securing Your Home Network – Cybersecurity Tip

There is unfortunately no specific piece of software you can install, or specific recipe you can follow to ensure you are completely secure online. The thing you need most is awareness of the kind of ways that you can be infiltrated, knowledge of how to identify those attempts, and the expertise to deal with them. However there are some steps you can choose to take that will make your home network more secure, and decrease the likelihood that you will be subjected to an attempt to be infiltrated.
Securing your home network

Securing Your Home Network

Consider Upgrading Your Router

Most people will have a router supplied by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). These are of course perfectly adequate for getting you online, which is why they are supplied to you in the first place. However, their feature set is usually at the basic end of what you can get in a router. All routers have built in firewalls, but if you are prepared to spend more money on a router, then you will get one with a more advanced firewall that can be configured more specifically. More advanced TP-Link routers also quite often have antivirus software built in (although you sometimes have to take out an extra subscription for this) that can identify threats before they even make it to your PC or other devices, and keep you more secure. So access to these advanced features with the purchase of a router is well worth considering.

Don’t make your WiFi network identifiable - use a generic name for it

A mistake that people will often make is naming their Wi-Fi network something easily identifiable to everyone in the area – like Macdonald10Janice. Now everyone in your street knows exactly which Wi-Fi network is yours. If anyone has nefarious intentions, then you’ve just put a big target on your back. Even though it is harder to remember and identify, it is much better to either use the default name given to you by your ISP (e.g. OPTUS_6E386C) or router manufacturer (e.g. TPLINK-265F) as these don’t make you specifically identifiable to anyone. And even if you upgrade your router, you can use the same Wi-Fi network name and Wi-Fi password on the new one.

Make your wifi password long (at least 12 characters)

You never know if people in your area are trying to get into your WiFi network, either because they simply want some free Internet or for more nefarious reasons. So make sure you have a password that isn’t obvious or easy to guess. As easy as it is to make your WiFi password ‘getonline’ so you can always remember it, it’s one of the most obvious passwords that someone will try and guess and get into your network. A good way to devise a password is to generate something that is very meaningful to you. For example you could take the names of all the people in your family – Jack, Sarah, Michael, Christine, Rusty – JsMcR – and pair it with some numbers such as the month and year you moved into the house – 072006 – and put a special character on the end – @ – and you have JsMcR072006@ – which is a pretty secure and hard to guess password.

Use WPA3 encryption if supported by your router

There are different levels of encryption that can be used for connections over WiFi networks. When WiFi first came in, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) was introduced to provide encryption. Later the more advanced WPA (WiFi Protected Access) was introduced, and was upgraded to WPA2 later on. WPA2 is the most likely encryption you are running on your WiFi network at present. However WPA3 is starting to come in, which offers you the highest level of security for your connection. You may be able to change the settings in your router to use this, or there may be a firmware update for your router that will introduce this. Otherwise, if you are planning to buy a router soon, make sure to check that it supports WPA3.

Check your port forwarding settings in your router - make sure no ports are open unnecessarily

This one probably only affects you if you have done your own configuration to your router. You may have setup port forwarding to enable access to a VPN, NAS or home server over the Internet. Always review these settings, and if you are no longer using any of the devices or services that you are port forwarding, then remember to remove the settings, as these make your home network more vulnerable to infiltration.

Make sure your router firmware is kept up to date

Just like how operating system software and application software needs to be updated because people can exploit vulnerabilities in it, router software (or firmware to be more correct) needs to be updated too. Some routers update themselves automatically (often in the middle of the night to avoid any interruptions to your usage) but other routers require you to log in to their web-based interface and manually trigger the updates. This is something you should check every two to three months to ensure your router is staying up to date and isn’t vulnerable to anything.

Get a Mesh WiFi expert to help

It’s important to cover all your bases and get your entire network checked by an experienced Mesh WiFi support consultant. We have experts in Melbourne that come out on-site to businesses and home residents. Start by giving our cybersecurity team a call for a complimentary phone consultation about securing your home network.

Book an IT service Today