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Home Security Monitoring: How To Encrypt Your Home Network

Dec 26, 2019 8:00:00 AM

There are many things you can do to protect yourself, your business, your family, and your home from would-be cyber criminals. Your number one priority should be encrypting your home network. It’s surprisingly simple and could even save you time and even money in the long run.

Why You Should Encrypt Your Network

If the threat of hackers stealing personal info, gaining access to your smart home devices, or stealing your identity isn’t great enough, at the very least you could prevent someone from stealing some of your bandwidth. Even with a password in place, it is relatively easy to leech onto someone’s Wi-Fi. A quick google search pulls up thousands of articles and videos on how to do just that. Perhaps your neighbors are using your Wi-Fi as we speak. While it might seem harmless:

  • It can increase your bill if you are paying per byte of data.
  • It will slow your connection down if multiple people are on your Wi-Fi.
  • The more people using your Wi-Fi, the more increased the risks of cyber crime becomes.

Time for a New Password

By following these simple steps, we can eliminate a lot of risk. The first thing you’ll need to do is improve your password strength. One of the simplest ways that people can get your password is by loading a database of passwords that have been leaked from a data breach from a major website into a hacking software specifically designed for this. There are hundreds of millions of passwords within these databases that anyone, anywhere, can access through a fast google search. Here’s how to fix that issue.

Make sure to have your router information handy. You will need your login information for your service provider. Next, type “192.168.1.1” into your address bar, which should prompt you to log in to your router. It is highly recommended to use a random password generator for this step, such as this one, which includes easy mnemonic devices to remember your password by.

While you’re here, change your SSID as well if you haven’t already. By having a standard name for your Wi-Fi (i.e. “NETGEAR-5G”) you are letting potential hackers know exactly what brand of router you are using along with basic info they could further use to exploit any weakness. Even by changing the network name, you are showing a basic literacy for understanding your network, which is a solid deterrent at the very least.

Encrypt It!

Now, it’s time to encrypt your network. Navigate your way to a setting that is called “Wireless Security” or “Advanced Security” or something along those lines. What you are looking for are the different options for network encryption generally called WEP, WPA, or WPA2. Here’s a brief rundown of what those are.

  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) - is the least secure option, but it is compatible with older hardware. However, in 2004, it was superseded by WPA.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) - This is more secure but still dated.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) - This is a very secure option, but you will need tech that is more up to date (post-2006), which should be fairly common nowadays.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access III (WPA3) - This is the most secure encryption data for consumer use but is a new addition (2018). If you have newer equipment, we recommend this.

Hopefully, you have located these options by now and are ready for the next step. All you have to do is select the option that fits the hardware you are currently operating on and you’re set!

The MAC Filter

Media Access Control (MAC) is a unique address that each wireless device comes with––like how every computer connected to the internet has an IP address. You can manually choose which MAC addresses are allowed to join your network. Doing this requires a little bit of patience. You’ll need to search for the MAC address in the settings of every device and then add them individually as an authorized device back on your wireless settings page.

While this step is more of a hassle than the rest, this will help make sure you are ultimately in control of who is allowed on your internet.

Wi-Fi Settings & Updates

Always make sure that your firmware is updated. Most providers are good at doing this automatically, but it can’t hurt to make sure you’re getting every update you need. You can also adjust the distance and signal range to cover less area if you feel like your Wi-Fi is extending too far beyond your own home.

As technology is rapidly changing, make sure you’re staying up to date with the latest trends and best security practices. Keep you and your loved ones out of the way of cyber crime and find out how AvantGuard can help you.

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