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Securing Your Home Network

Thursday, February 23, 2017 11:35

By now, many of us are aware that there are people on the internet who want to gain unauthorized access to our systems and information.  To help avoid this, we need to be aware of any weak points in our cyber security stronghold.  This time, we’re going to focus on our home WIFI router.  A router is what our devices use to access the internet at home, be it WIFI or wired, and can be a point of attack for those who want to do us harm.  If an attacker gains access to our WIFI network, often times they can also gain access to any devices on that same network, and any files that go along with it.  So, here are a few things we can do to secure our home router:

Access Router Settings

A router, like many other devices, has settings that can be changed or configured.  Using these settings, we can specify who gets to access the WIFI network, along with many other settings that might be useful.  But first, we need to figure out how to access these settings.  Luckily, this is a simple task that can be accomplished using any modern internet browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.  We will need to type the IP address of the router in the address bar of the browser to access the router settings.  Refer to the router’s manual for what this might be.

Log In as Administrator

Now, how do we get the log in details?  They should be listed in your router’s manual, but if we can’t find it, there is a much easier way.  They can be found by simply Googling the brand name and model of your router, which is usually printed on the router itself, along with “admin password”.  There are many sites out there that post the default administrator username and password.  Try to visit only trusted sites, such as the internet service provider or the router manufacturer’s forums.

Lock It Down

Once we have logged in to the router, we will notice a plethora of settings.  With most modern routers, we can use these settings to ensure that our home is cyber secure.  First thing’s first, we need to change the password for the administrator account we just used to log in, as anybody can find the default log in details as we just did.  How to do this will vary widely from router to router, but if we dig through the settings, we should find an option to change account passwords.  Changing the administrator password is the first step to securing our home network.

Tighten the Screws

Once that’s done, we should set up a WIFI password if we haven’t done so already.  This will often be listed as a key of some kind in the wireless section of the router’s settings.  Also, we want to be sure the wireless network is using an effective security protocol, such as WPA2.  If that is an option, be sure to select it.  However, do not use WEP as that is known to be insecure.  There are likely many other options to peruse, so it’s worth browsing through to see if any of them are useful.

Doing these things will go a long way in keeping our systems and information more secure.  For more details on how to access router settings, refer to the router’s manual, contact the manufacturer, or visit their website.  Next time, we’ll be looking at how to secure your devices themselves.