Hannah J Lobdell

Why you need a secure guest WiFi network post-pandemic

As the world reopens its doors, WiFi sharing has made a resurgence. Passwords are being passed around like platters at a dinner party, and with the average number of devices per U.S. household estimated to reach 20 by 2025, home network security is being put to the test.  

The problem is, now these networks are guarding more sensitive information. 80% of full-time workers from Owl Lab's State of Remote Work Report stated that they expect to work from home at least three times per week post-pandemic. What’s more, many report accessing more company data, more frequently, post-pandemic. To secure the home network, reduce the risk of cyberattacks, and limit the exposure of professional or personal data while working from home, internet users should consider setting up a guest WiFi network.  

<img src="two-women-and-man-sitting-together-laughing-with-coffee-and-laptop-on-secure-guest-wifi-network-with-minim-logo.jpeg." alt="why-you-need-a-secure-guest-WiFi-network-post-pandemic"">

What is a guest WiFi network? 

Rather than giving everyone who walks into your home access to your Local Area Network (LAN), or the primary WiFi network connected to many of your household devices, a guest network serves as another independent access point to the WiFi. It will give your guests the connectivity and bandwidth they need without permitting their devices to interact or interfere with the main network. 

Why do I need a guest WiFi network?

It’s one thing to have a trusted friend connect to your printer, especially when you know they have the proper device security measures in place. But what if your friend’s plus-one walks into your home with a device that's already infected with malware?

The second they connect to your network to check an email or scroll through social media, malicious actors can begin collecting sensitive information or compromising other devices. In the span of a dinner party, a guest could inadvertently take down your entire work-from-home setup or give a hacker access to your family’s bank account information.  

Is guest WiFi more secure? 

Guest WiFi networks serve as an additional layer of separation and protection between malicious attacks and your primary network.  Here’s how:  

#1: Smart devices are more susceptible than you think— isolate your devices for better protection  

There’s a reason the FBI recommends keeping your IoT devices on separate networks. Even if you’re not one for hosting gatherings, the sheer number of vulnerable IoT devices in your home could expose you to a cyberattack or data breach. Like one Reddit user discovered, unsuspecting smart devices like washing machines can be used to access network data: 

<img src="reddit-post.jpeg." alt="why-you-need-a-secure-guest-WiFi-network-post-pandemic"">

Screenshot of Reddit post taken from Twitter on 7/27/21

Other devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles, and even thermostats lack the inherent security needed to defend against external attacks, and they are not as easily updated as phones and PCs. Some users attempt to combat this using work-from-home security systems like VPN or antivirus, but these solutions were never designed to defend smart home devices alone.

In 2021, there is an average of one cyberattack every 11 seconds. Keeping all external devices on a guest WiFi network helps reduce the harmful traffic going in and out of your home. Also consider adding some of your most vulnerable smart devices— like the washer machine, fridge, speakers, etc.— to the guest WiFi network. By keeping easily-compromised devices separate from your important work gadgets, hackers will be deterred from accessing more valuable information. 

#2: Protect your passwords: Stop sharing your credentials

The RockYou2021 data leak in June saw a staggering 8.4 billion passwords leaked to the internet, putting the personal information of many at risk of infiltration. A good rule of thumb is to never share credentials that could be dangerous in the hands of a malicious actor with a guest device, regardless of who it belongs to. 

You can't guarantee that a device has the proper defense mechanisms in place to protect against a breach, so don't expose your Local Area Network (LAN). This is especially true if you refuse your passwords across other important accounts. Instead, create separate, randomized credentials for a guest WiFi network. This will allow you to easily and safely share guest WiFi access without exposing your primary login information. Keeping private devices locked away behind a secure password is a precaution that can save your data in the long run.  

Ready to set up a secure guest WiFi network? 

To deliver safer, better WiFi for the whole home, Minim makes it easy to create an isolated network for your professional needs and selectively share your guest WiFi credentials.

Set up a guest WiFi network via The Minim® Mobile app in 6 simple steps:

  1. Open the Minim App and find the Network tab. 
  2. From there, go to WiFi networks and select the +Add network button that appears towards the upper right-hand corner of the square. 
    ALT: "Minim-app-screenshot-network-overview-add-network.jpeg."
  3. Where it reads Credentials, enter a unique SSID name and secure password. 
  4. Under the Security section, click the Isolate devices switch on. This will prevent certain devices from talking to other networks and their devices. Congrats, you just separated your devices onto a guest WiFi network!
    ALT: "Minim-app-screenshot-network-overview-add-network-credential.jpeg."
  5. Next, select Network Type and choose the label for your network. You have the option of Home or Work; they are similar in function, so either can be used for the guest network. 
    ALT: "Minim-app-screenshot-network-overview-add-network-type.jpeg."
  6. Finally, to finish adding the SSID, click the Add network button, which will redirect you to your new network and its attributes. 

Once your guest network is made, guests can connect to the WiFi freely without compromising your devices, security, or peace of mind. 

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