By Craig Blignaut, Product Manager: WiFi at Vox
We all know that public WiFi networks are less secure because you have no idea who else is using them or who set them up. But how secure is your home WiFi network? Have you taken the time to check that the necessary security protocols are in place to keep your home network secure, or do you just rely on the fact that the person from your service provider who set everything up did so with security in mind?
This is an important question to answer when you consider how many different devices we connect to our home WiFi every single day. From smartphones to security cameras – devices that criminals can use to check if you’re home or that could allow the wrong people to access your credit card information or online banking credentials. And if you work from home, WiFi-related security vulnerabilities can also be a threat to confidential corporate data. But where do the risks lie?
Well, if you freely dish out your WiFi password when different people visit your home, you’re only increasing the likelihood that a hacker could gain access to your network or that one of these visitors clicks on a sinister link and opens you up to greater security-related risks. Similarly, if you live in an environment where homes are very close together – be it a townhouse complex, an estate or block of flats – you could be vulnerable to bandwidth theft if your WiFi network isn’t secured properly. In this scenario, your tech savvy next-door neighbour might be able to access your WiFi and start using your network without your consent.
Prevention is better than cure
We often approach security, be it online or physical, by only ramping things up after an incident because this event highlights its importance. But this is not the right approach. If you think it’s too much hassle to change your WiFi password or put one or two additional layers of security in place, just imagine the hassle you’ll have to endure to recover stolen funds or to explain to your boss why sensitive company information was leaked. Below are a few simple things you can do to up your WiFi security game right now.
Set up guest WiFi
Today, one of the first things family and friends ask when visiting your home is: “what’s the WiFi password?” But allowing everyone to connect to your network can be a problem. By setting up a guest WiFi network, separate to your primary network – you’re making sure that visitors can connect without compromising the safety of your home devices.
Consider a VPN
Customers looking for an extra layer of protection might consider a virtual private network or VPN. A VPN protects your online activity by redirecting your Internet connection through a secure server so that your IP address and online activity is hidden. The benefit of this is that anyone trying to spy on you or access your private data won’t be able to move beyond the VPN’s encryption protocols.
Choose a strong WiFi password
Most WiFi routers come with a default password. If a hacker knows your router manufacturer, guessing the default password is easy enough. This is why it is so important to change your password and, when you do, make sure that your new wireless network password includes numbers, letters and special characters so that it’s harder for hackers to crack. You’ve probably heard this story about the importance of choosing a strong password before, but it really is one of the simplest things you can do to secure your network in a matter of minutes. It’s all about making sure that your network is harder to break into than your neighbour’s because hackers will always take the route of least resistance.