Securing Your Home WiFi Network: According to Google
Installing new IT gadgets at home can be a complicated issue and especially WiFi devices, they sometimes add to the frustration of networking the devices at home. Despite the grief and frustration we experience, WiFi is still popular just because it offers the flexibility and convenience to access the internet from anywhere in homes rather than stuck in place. According to Strategy Analytics, “A Quarter of Households Worldwide Now Have Wireless Home Networks”, the developed world has over 50 per cent concentration.
When it comes to IT gadgets, we all want it to work the first time out the box, no hassle and no fuss. Even though there are strict standards that enable these devices to communicate with other devices, we can still experience unexplained problems. Therefore, for many of us along as we test our wireless router and its working we walk away – and think jobs done. This approach to setting up wireless routers left them open to hacking and our neighbours piggy backing on our internet connection, using up our bandwidth.
The way we use the internet has become valuable information for marketing companies and search engines like Google, who was recently accused of accessing unprotected wireless routers and storing personal data including browsing activities. Now, Google has published some guidelines on how we can protect our wireless home network and keeping your information safe.
Below are the five points that Google is recommending we look at:
- Check to see what kind of home WiFi security you already have: Do your friends need to enter a password to get on your network when they visit your house for the first time and ask to use your WiFi? If they don’t, your network isn’t as secure as it could be. Even if they do need to enter a password, there are a few different methods of securing your network, and some are better than others. Check what kind of security you have for your network at home by looking at your WiFi settings. Your network will likely either be unsecured, or secured with WEP, WPA or WPA2. WEP is the oldest wireless security protocol, and it’s pretty weak. WPA is better than WEP, but WPA2 is best.
- Change your network security settings to WPA2: Your wireless router is the machine that creates the WiFi network. If you don’t have your home network secured with WPA2, you’ll need to access your router’s settings page to make the change. You can check your router’s user manual to figure out how to access this page, or look for instructions online for your specific router. Any device with a WiFi trademark sold since 2006 is required to support WPA2. If you have a router that was made before then, we suggest upgrading to a new router that does offer WPA2. It’s safer and can be much faster.
- Create a strong password for your WiFi network: To secure your network with WPA2, you’ll need to create a password. It’s important that you choose a unique password, with a long mix of numbers, letters and symbols so others can’t easily guess it. If you’re in a private space such as your home, it’s OK to write this password down so you can remember it, and keep it somewhere safe so you don’t lose it. You might also need it handy in case your friends come to visit and want to connect to the Internet via your network. Just like you wouldn’t give a stranger a key to your house, you should only give your WiFi password to people you trust.
- Secure your router too, so nobody can change your settings: Your router needs its own password, separate from the password you use to secure your network. Routers come without a password, or if they do have one, it’s a simple default password that many online criminals may already know. If you don’t reset your router password, criminals anywhere in the world have an easy way to launch an attack on your network, the data shared on it and the computers connected to your network. For many routers, you can reset the password from the router settings page. Keep this password to yourself, and make it different from the one you use to connect to the WiFi network (as described in step 3). If you make these passwords the same, then anyone who has the password to connect to your network will also be able to change your wireless router settings.
- If you need help, look up the instructions: If you’ve misplaced your router’s manual, type the model number of your base station or router into a search engine—in many cases the info is available online. Otherwise, contact the company that manufactured the router or your Internet Service Provider for assistance.