Internet router

These days everyone has a wireless network at home. But if you haven’t updated your security settings in a while, you could be vulnerable to online threats. Here’s how to make your Wi-Fi network safer.

Manage your firewalls

Make sure your router’s firewall is turned on. Routers are often shipped with the firewall turned off. The same goes for your computer’s firewall. The firewall protects your system from thieves. If your router did not come with a firewall, it’s even more important to make sure your computer has a firewall you can turn on for added protection.

Not-so-free Wi-Fi endangers your personal network, too

There’s nothing like gaining access to Wi-Fi so you can stay connected to your device without draining your data plan. However, we’ve all heard the saying, “Nothing in life is free.” That saying applies to Wi-Fi, too.

While no money changes hands for unauthorized use of another person’s Wi-Fi, you could pay a hefty price for your own online privacy. The contents of your personal device and other sensitive information can be put at risk when using free wireless networks you’re not approved to use.

Protect yourself when using an unsecured wireless network: Stop. Think. Connect.

STOP. Take time to understand the risks of using the free network and learn how to spot potential problems.

THINK. Be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety.

CONNECT. Enjoy the internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your devices.

Securing your wireless network

Here are a few additional ways to help you protect your personal information and devices when using Wi-Fi.

  • Encrypt your home network. Ensure that neighbors or, worse, thieves, can’t access your network. Network encryption disguises the information you send so intruders can’t access your data. All devices should use the same encryption. If your device’s encryption feature is turned off, turn it on. Review the directions that came with your router or check the manufacturer’s website.
  • Password-protect your router. When you set up your router, it likely came with a default password. You need to change it to something long, strong and memorable. Use at least 12 characters featuring a mix of numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters. Visit the website of your internet service provider (ISP) or your router’s manufacturer to learn how to secure your Wi-Fi router with a password.
  • Set up a guest network. By segmenting your home network, you can better control who has access to your home Wi-Fi. This also allows you to keep your family’s network password secret.
  • Apply all updates. Be sure to apply all updates to your router’s software. Your ISP will push updates to your device, if you’re using their equipment. Otherwise, if you have purchased your own router and have registered it with the manufacturer, you should get notifications about required updates.

These steps will give you a strong foundation for safe wireless connections. Discover more ways you can protect yourself online.

The advice provided is for informational purposes only.

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