Helping you balance your online life

Jul 9th


Tech Education Series: Setting Up a Secure Wireless Network

Setting up a wireless network is fairly easy, but if you're not aware of the right security measures to put in place, you could be setting yourself up for hackers to steal any data you send over your network, including passwords, credit card information and other personal information. Setting up a secure wireless network takes a little more time up front but will save you lots of time if it prevents you from getting hacked, so it's worth the extra effort. We've put together six essential steps to setting up a secure wireless network.
Wireless internet router
Step 1: Encrypt your WiFi network
Make sure to create a unique password for your WiFi network that you can share with people you trust. The password should be hard to guess but as easy to type as possible--try using a phrase with some numbers used in place of letters or between words.

Figure out which industry security standard your device supports. The options, from strongest to weakest, are WPA2, WPA and WEP. Use WPA2 if possible, as it is the most secure, but it isn't always compatible with all devices.

Step 2: Change the Default SSID Name
Rename your network to something that doesn't contain any hints to the make or model of your router. The default SSID name often contains router information, which could be used to hack into your network.

Step 3: Change Default Passwords
Using the default passwords on your router may make the process of setting it up easier, but it also makes your network more susceptible to hackers and unauthorized users. The two most important passwords for you to change on your router are the SSIDs and the admin password.

Usually the admin password can be changed in the System or Administration sections of the interface. The SSID's password is often under Wireless Settings. Make sure both passwords are difficult to guess (see Step 1) and different from each other.

Step 4: Update the Router's Firmware
Usually the router manufacturer will have firmware updates to help improve a router's performance and security. You should be able to update the firmware with a few clicks or by downloading the firmware and installing it manually. Just make sure to wait for the updating process to complete before trying to use it or you might cause damage to the router.

Step 5: Turn off Guest Networking
Guest networking often allows others unsecured access to your router. It's usually turned off by default but it can't hurt to verify this.

Step 6: Turn off remote access features
Many routers are available over the internet, so you can access them remotely. Don't turn these features on unless you know how to use them. If you do use them, make sure to use HTTPS for remote management.

After you have secured your home WiFi, you still may need to protect your device when you are using public WiFi. You can do this by downloading a protection program like Private WiFi which will help protect your identity and sensitive information by encrypting everything you send and receive while using a public WiFi. Now you can browse more safely!