Xena Mensink

How to Improve Your Home Network Security

It’s no secret that over the last few decades, U.S. households have increasingly relied on internet access. However, that reliance has only gotten stronger in recent years due to the increased popularity of remote working and learning. Keeping this trend in mind, home network security has never been more important. 

With so many homes consisting of multiple internet users who stay actively connected to their network on more than one device at a time, it’s crucial to take precautions when it comes to who has access to your network, how you’re keeping your data secure, and if your network devices are set up in the best possible way to safeguard your information from cyber attacks. 

In this article, we’ll explore the ten best methods for improving your home network security and why they matter.

Why Network Security Is Important

The importance of keeping your home network secure might be obvious to some. However, many internet users still fail to take critical steps that might better ensure the security of their information. In fact, 71.1 million people fall victim to cyber crimes every year. 

Suppose someone gains access to your home network. In that case, they can easily access your personal data by listening to your internet traffic, launch cyber attacks against your WiFi security, and steal critical information you may or may not ever recover from.

Best Practices for Improving Your Home Network Security

So what are the best ways to keep your network and data secure? We’ve compiled a list of some of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your network security down below. Take a look and be sure to contact us if you have any further questions or suggestions!

1. Change the Default Name and Password of Your Network

One of the first tasks when setting up your home network is to change the default name and password of your router. This name is known as your SSID (Service Set Identifier) and can be altered by following these simple steps:

  1. Log in to your router settings by typing its IP address into the URL bar or by accessing your settings through your network management app (most ISPs or network devices come with an app, like the motosync app for Motorola networking devices, that lets you manage your router’s settings and information). 
  2. Change your SSID and password. We recommend using a longer phrase unique to your device and not including any obvious/personal information like your name or date of birth. 
  3. Continue to update your password frequently to prevent cyberattacks and limit your risk of a data breach.

2. Create a Guest Network

It’s common practice to share your WiFi password with guests when they visit your home. Instead of always sharing access to your main home network, you might consider setting up a separate guest network for visitors.

While you may trust your guests, it might not be a good idea to trust their connected devices. Setting up a guest network will help keep your personal information and devices hidden from them. It also prevents your devices from being infected with malware or viruses associated with something your guests might’ve accidentally downloaded while connected to your network. 

A guest network is also ideal for IoT devices like WiFi-connected cameras, thermostats, and smart speakers—all devices that may not hold much sensitive information but might be more easily hackable than a computer or phone.

3. Limit Access to Your Network

Again, this one might be a little obvious, but try to avoid giving access to too many people, especially if they’re not someone you know well. The more people that have access to your wireless network, the greater risk of your personal data being exposed to the wrong crowd. 

Sometimes you can also create user profiles within network management apps like Minim’s mobile app to help limit access to your network and even set up schedules to limit users’ access even further.

4. Enable Firewall and Wi-Fi Encryption

Several router devices have a firewall to prevent cyber attacks as well as an encryption option. You can enable these under your router settings, but they’re often active by default. 

When you enable WiFi encryption for your home network, it encrypts any data shared between your wireless channels and your devices to help prevent anyone from “listening in” on that information without logging into your network. Remember that you’ll need to manually reconnect all of your devices to your wireless network after you enable this (if it’s not already turned on).

5. Turn Off Your WiFi When You’re Away From Home

You might not want to deal with the hassle of turning off your WiFi network every time you leave your house (unless you have an app to manage your network easily). Still, it might be something to consider for more extended outings like going on vacation. This will help keep your data secure and ensure the safety of your network—even when you’re not around.

6. Keep Your Router and Networking Devices Up-To-Date

Many networking devices on the market today come with features like automatic software update syncing. Software updates are fairly common and are released when companies become aware of potential or exposed security vulnerabilities. It’s important to complete these updates (even if you think they’re inconvenient or annoying) because they help to minimize and eliminate the risk of security weaknesses. Every router manufacturer has a slightly different process for completing those software updates, so we recommend looking up their website to ensure a smooth process. 

7. Switch to a WPA3 Router if You Don’t Already Have One

If you rent your router from your ISP, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s a WPA2 device. If that’s the case, we recommend upgrading to a WPA3 router which you might have to purchase separately from a router manufacturer like Motorola Network

WPA3 routers were first released into the market just a few years ago, and they come with more robust security protocols to address many of the vulnerabilities found in WPA2 routers. A WPA3 router will also likely boost the strength of your network signal. 

8. Disable Remote Access to Your Router

Remote router access enables anyone not directly connected to your home network to access your router settings. This is a helpful feature if you need to manage your network from another location (like changing the configuration of a child’s connected device while you’re away). Still, overall, we recommend disabling this option. 

With remote router access enabled, you’re only increasing your chances of experiencing network security issues, and it’s just not worth the risk.

9. Create a Strong WiFi Password and Change It Frequently

This is one of the better-known tips for keeping your network secure, but it still deserves mention. Creating a strong and unique password for your network is essential to maintaining a secure network. Avoid creating passwords that contain easily guessable information like names, birthdays, or phone numbers along with any other common information. Simple passwords might be easy to remember, but they also make you vulnerable to hackers and data breaches. 

We recommend changing your network password every six months or so and not sharing the same password for multiple accounts to keep your network secure.

10. Use a VPN

A VPN, also known as a virtual private network, helps to hide your IP address and WiFi activity (including browsing data). There are a few good reasons to use a VPN, but one of the better reasons is its benefits for improving your network security. 

VPNs are probably a little more useful for public networks. However, they still offer an increased level of security for more private home networks by protecting your location and improving buffering issues in some cases. 

Interested in learning more about network security and data protection? Then be sure to visit our blog for more information, and contact us at hello@minim.com for any additional inquiries!

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