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5 simple steps to secure your home network

These days, you can't be too picky about your home network security. You hear all kinds of scary stories about hackers accessing home networks to spy on families, but that's not the only threat you face. Scammers can access your network easier than you think and could use this access to steal your personal information or hijack your Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Contents1) Buy your own gateway or router2) Change default admin credentials3) Disable remote access4) Enable latest security protocols5) Keep your device up to date

What should an owner do? Follow these five steps to secure your home network and protect it from hackers, scammers, and other cybercriminals.

1) Buy your own gateway or router

If you care about the security of your home network, let alone your wallet, you should buy your own gateway or router instead of using the one your ISP will want to rent to you. You'll save money in the long run – rental fees for these ISP-owned devices can be $10-$15 per month, while the cost of buying your own gateway might be only $100. around $100 to $125. And you need to replace your gateway or router every three or four years, so you'll save a few hundred dollars in rental fees over that time if you buy your own router.

Also, your ISP-provided router may not be as secure as it could be. ISPs don't tend to be as concerned about pushing out firmware updates for their customers' gateways. Sometimes they won't even let you know when it's time to trade in your rented gangway for a newer model. You could easily end up depending on legacy equipment that doesn't have the chops to protect your network from malware and hackers.

2) Change default administrator credentials

When you unbox a brand new router or gateway, you will be able to log into its admin dashboard using the default username and password. You'll need to log in to your router's admin dashboard in order to adjust the device's security settings, and we'll discuss that in more detail in the following steps. But first, make sure to change the default username and password. Create a unique, strong password and don't just reuse the same password you use for everything else.

It's important to do this immediately, as hackers can easily find your device's default login credentials online. Manufacturers give large batches of their devices the same default credentials, assuming you will obviously change it first. If you don't change it at the first thing - or if, like many people, you didn't even know you could log into your router's dashboard – you're leaving your network wide open. Secure your home network with a new strong password.

3) Disable remote access

Most wireless routers and gateways have remote access features that allow users to easily connect new devices to their network or access the router's admin dashboard. However, they also allow hackers easy access to your router without being connected to your home network. This is because the remote access features allow you to access your router's administrative settings from the Internet, rather than through a direct connection to the device.

While you're fiddling with your router's admin settings, go ahead and disable Remote Dashboard Access, Wifi Protected Setup (WPS), and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). This will prevent hackers from accessing your router from another network or connecting devices to your network without your knowledge. However, keep in mind that if you buy a new device that you want to connect to the network, it will be easier if you go back to your router's admin dashboard and re-enable UPnP until you're done. to connect your new device.

4) Enable the latest security protocols

Your router should offer Wifi Protected Access II (WPA2) or the latest security protocol, WPA3. Set your security protocols to the highest level of WPA protection offered by your router or gateway. If it doesn't offer at least WPA2, it's time to replace the device.

5) Keep your device up-to-date

Keeping your device updated is essential to protect it from malware and hacking attempts. Manufacturers use firmware updates as an opportunity to fix software vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit with malware, and to address other emerging security issues, as well as improve device performance.

When it comes to protecting your home network, you can't be too careful. Protect your home network from hackers and let them look elsewhere for a quick buck.