How Can I Secure My Internet Connection?

by Sep 10, 2021Safety



Online Security FAQ Featured

What is network security? Network security prevents unauthorized users and hackers from accessing your Wi-Fi network and the devices that use it. There are a number of common sense practices that will help you have a secure network connection and a few extras that can increase your level of security to top secrets.

  • Rename routers and networks.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Keep everything updated.
  • Turn on encryption.
  • Use multiple firewalls.
  • Disable the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) setting.
  • Use a VPN (virtual private network).

All wireless routers come with a generic username, and many also include a generic password. When setting up the router for the first time, you will need to use this generic admin information, but once it is up and running, you will need to change both. The generic usernames and passwords that come with routers are public records, making a hacker’s job easy – especially if you skip changing the router’s factory settings.

After changing the wireless router username and password, rename your home Wi-Fi network. This is called SSID (service set identifier), and it’s the name that people will see if they scan for nearby networks. Default network names often include the brand and model number of the router used to set up the network, giving hackers valuable information about your Wi-Fi setup.

Avoid tipping hackers (and preventing neighbors from accessing your Wi-Fi) by renaming the network. Be warned that all devices currently connected to your Wi-Fi network will be launched after the name change, including smartphones, computers, gaming systems, smart home devices, etc. You will need to update and connect all of these devices again when you rename the network.

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You’ve probably heard more about strong passwords than you ever wanted, but they keep popping up because they’re still one of the best lines of defense against data leaks and hackers. Use the guidelines below when it comes to creating a strong network password that prevents online attacks.

  • Make it long – at least 16 characters are recommended.
  • Use a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Do not use common phrases or personal information.
  • Test the strength of your password. You can use a password manager or an online password checker to find out how secure the password is in real time.
  • Make sure it’s unique – do not reuse a password you’ve already used.
  • Use a password manager. They help you keep track of your passwords, and some even generate random passwords that are difficult for both humans and computers to crack.

Routers need to be updated regularly. Router manufacturers update the firmware on routers when a vulnerability is detected, just like the operating system on your phone or PC. Set a reminder to check your router settings each month to see if there have been any updates.

These days, every router on the market includes encryption and it is one of the simplest ways to secure your internet connection.

  1. Go to the router’s settings and find the security options.
  2. Look for WPA2 Personalization. If you do not see it, select WPA Personal (but this may be a sign that your router is outdated and more vulnerable).
  3. Set the encryption type to AES.
  4. Enter a password or network key. This password is different from the one you used for your router and is used to connect all devices to your Wi-Fi network. Use the strong password policy above to create a secure password.
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Below are some of the easiest ways to secure your internet connection. These steps do not require any special technical knowledge or additional purchases in addition to a wireless router.

Below are some of the easiest ways to secure your internet connection. These steps do not require any special technical knowledge or additional purchases in addition to a wireless router.

WPS or Wi-Fi protected setup is the feature that lets devices like phones and smart home gadgets pair with your network. This option is convenient, especially if you have a lot of smart devices to connect, but it leaves an opening for a hacker to enter. Look for the WPS button on your router and turn it off unless you are actively pairing your devices with the network.

A VPN (virtual private network) is one of the best ways to secure your internet connection. It acts as an intermediary between your connected device and the Internet. It hides your activity so no one (even online advertisers) can see what you are doing online. You can find free browser-based VPNs or subscribe to a monthly VPN service. This tool is a must-have when on a public network, but it’s also a smart way to add an extra layer of security to your home Wi-Fi.

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