How to Keep your Home Wi-Fi Safe

With laptops, phones, and countless other devices connecting to Wi-Fi, a small vulnerability could be devastating. Here are some tips when it comes to using Wi-Fi safely and securely.

Change your SSID
Your service set identifier (SSID) is your network’s name, and most Wi-Fi providers will give you an SSID based on the company name, typically followed by a string of numbers, letters, or both (e.g. SKYQPLSD or BT-JPUVK8). Having your provider displayed publicly could allow hackers to identify the manufacturer of your router and potentially get access to its settings. It is best to set your SSID to something random. Don’t set it to something that’s identifiable, such as your name, address or phone number.

Hide your network
Your router doesn’t have to broadcast your SSID publicly, and you can block it from doing so, making your network hidden. Devices that are already connected will still be able to connect automatically, and you can temporarily make your network visible if you need to connect a new device. Having a publicly visible network is necessary for businesses and public spaces that want to offer Wi-Fi to visitors, but at home, this isn’t necessary.

Set a unique and strong password
Your Wi-Fi router will come pre-set with a password, but this can be easy to guess by hackers. Set your password to something that would be difficult for a stranger to guess, and make sure there’s nothing identifiable in it. Use a mix of alphabetical and numerical characters, and a mix of upper and lowercase characters; throw some symbols in there too.

Use encryption
Encryption is one of the cost-effective ways of protecting your Wi-Fi. Scrambling messages sent over wireless networks means they cannot be read, providing an added layer of security. Pretty much all routers will allow you to enable encryption, although it will typically be turned off by default. WPA2 is the most recent and effective form of encryption; older forms such as WEP and WPA have flaws and do not offer adequate protection.

Keep your router updated
As with your computer, phone or tablet, always make sure you have the latest updates installed. Your router’s firmware may contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, and manufacturers will patch them as they arise.

Wi-Fi Security