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How to Protect Your Wifi Network in 2022

Protect Your Wifi Network

The average U.S. household has 25 devices connected to the internet – and thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, smart home devices, streaming devices, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets, many homes have even more. These devices contain sensitive information, and any hacker that gains access to your network can also access your personal devices and your valuable, private data, including bank account info, credit card numbers, and other financial information.

These days, you can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting your home network. Hackers are getting more and more savvy, and while phishing and other scams still account for a huge chunk of the $6.9 billion victims lost in 2021, network hacking is increasingly prevalent. 

What can you do to protect yourself? Much of the advice for securing your wifi network in 2022 remains the same as it was last year. Use strong passwords, secure your router’s admin page, and make sure your router offers WPA3 encryption, which is the latest security protocol. Keep your router and other devices up to date, use a guest network, and make sure you know what devices are connected to your network.

Use Strong Passwords

Perhaps the most effective and easiest thing you can do to protect your home network from hackers is still using strong passwords. A strong password is hard to guess, so avoid using birthdays, names, phone numbers, and other tidbits of information that might be easy for hackers to guess. Remember, hackers can access your social media to glean a surprising amount of information about your private life.

Change your wireless network’s default password to one that has at least 12 characters, including a mix of special characters, numbers, and lower-case and capital letters. It’s best to avoid dictionary words and combinations of dictionary words. Use a password manager to create and store strong passwords – if you buy a premium security suite to protect your network and devices, it should come with a password manager. Change your network password every six months or so.

Secure Your Router’s Admin Page

Your router has login credentials of its own that are different from the credentials you need to log in to your wifi network. Type the IP address of your router into the URL field of your web browser to navigate to your router’s admin dashboard (here’s how to find it). The default login credentials for your router admin page might be printed on the bottom of the router itself, or you might be able to look them up online. Once you’re into your router admin dashboard, disable remote access and change the password to something more secure.

Enable WPA3 Encryption

Enable WPA3 Encryption

Any new router sold after 2018 or 2019 should give you the option to enable the latest wireless security protocol, WPA3. If your router doesn’t have this option, it’s time to upgrade to a new device. If you’re renting a gateway from your internet service provider (ISP), you may be able to get a newer model from them, but a router you buy yourself will be more secure – and will save you money on rental fees in the long run.

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Keep Everything Up to Date

Device manufacturers regularly release software and firmware updates for their devices, and these updates typically include patches for known security flaws that may have emerged since you bought the device. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you install updates on your router, smart devices, and computers whenever they are available.

Create a Guest Network

If you have guests in your home, it’s only polite to offer them the password to your wifi network. But you don’t know where their devices have been. They may be compromised, and your guests may not even know it.

Using a guest network keeps potentially infected guest devices segregated from your main network so that hackers can’t get into your smartphone, laptop, or other devices just because they have access to one of your networks. It’s also a good idea to segregate your Internet of Things (IoT) devices onto a guest network – these devices have known security flaws that could put your whole network at risk.

Monitor the Devices Connecting to Your Network

When you change your wireless password every six months, you’ll have to reconnect all of your smart devices, but you’ll also be kicking off any devices that shouldn’t have been connected to your network. You can use a premium security suite to monitor the devices connected to your network, or, with a little more savvy, you can access your router’s admin dashboard to survey them. If you don’t recognize something, you should remove it from the network, but keep in mind that some smart devices have weird names. Having to reconnect the occasional smart device to your network is a small price to pay for safety.

As the number of smart devices in the average American home adds up, it’s more important than ever to secure your home network. An unsecured network is ripe for the picking by hackers, so don’t wait another day – lock down your network now.

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