Our homes can have as many devices connected to the network as a small business would have about 10 years ago. Laptops, webcams, smart lights, phones, streaming boxes like Roku, gaming consoles, and more are all common household devices. While this tech is great for our entertainment and convenience, it means now more than ever, it is critical that everyone understands how to keep their home network safe, as this is part of the #BE30DayChallenge to secure your digital life.
The gateway most people use between these devices and the Internet is a wireless router. A router allows one Internet connection, such as cable or DSL, to be used to connect many devices to the Internet. A wireless router, of course, provides Wi-Fi connectivity for these devices.
Securing your home networks is usually set through the router’s software. You can access this management software by pointing a web browser to the IP address of the router (usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1). Then, enter in the pre-set username and password; typically the username is “admin” and the password is either “password” or “admin.”
Note: The IP addresses and login information can vary from router to router. So, check the documentation that came with your router or any stickers on the router–these places are where you can usually find the IP address and login information.
There are eight steps you should take to lock down your home network, in this week’s #BE30DayChallenge to securing your digital life:
1. Change the Router’s Default Username and Password
Once you have accessed the router’s software via a web browser, you should immediately change the password and create a new username, if you can.
2. Passwords and Usernames on Devices
Any device that connects to the Internet behind your router should be secured with a strong password; including webcams, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and other devices.
3. Keep Devices Updated With Current Firmware
Your gaming consoles, router, smartphones, and other devices will occasionally ask to you to updates the software or firmware. You should always click “Yes” or “OK” to do so, and allow the device to updates itself. These updates can often contain important security fixes.
4. Don’t Use an SSID That is Obvious
Choose an SSID–that is the name of your wireless network–that doesn’t provide a lot of information about you, like your home address.
5. Create a Guest Network
Most wireless routers will allow you to create a guest network; a separate Wi-Fi network that you can give the password to, for anyone visiting your home that wants to connect to your network. Guest networks let others share your Internet, but they do not give access to any other devices or data on your network.
6. Don’t Use the Same Password for All Devices
Please use unique passwords for all devices connecting to the router.
7. Don’t Keep Devices Constantly Logged, If Possible
When you are finished playing Xbox, PlayStation, or using another piece of Internet-connected technology, make sure you log out of that device and power it down.
8. Do Routinely Check Router Logs
Most routers will track what devices are connecting to your network. These are called log files. You should check them periodically to make sure you know who and what is connected to your network. On many of the newer home routers, you can have alerts sent to your phone if an unrecognized device attempts to connect, and you can even block those devices.