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Must-Do Best Practices to Keep Home Networks Secure

Best Practices to Keep Home Networks Secure

The world we live in has changed dramatically during our lifetimes. Crime on the streets is as prevalent as ever. As the world landscape becomes more challenging for survival criminals on the streets become more desperate in their efforts to live the lifestyle they want. The same phenomenon is taking place in the cyberspace arena.

In the age of modern technologies and hyper-connectivity, it is a challenge to maintain a secure home and personal environment. It is important to utilize best practices to keep home networks secure. Home and personal networks include all the devices we use in our homes as well as our personal devices that make up our personal area network.

Recommended Practices to Keep Personal Devices Secure

Realize that there are many devices in our lives that we use to make our lives more efficient and productive. We also use many devices to bring us entertainment and relaxation. It seems like we are always connected to some type of network 24/7. Our desktops, laptops, and cellphones are always connected. In this era of the Internet of Things (IoT), even the things that help us with our daily chores like appliances and other household features are connected. Smart home technology is a trend that is continuing to build, and the sky’s the limit in smart home innovations. It takes a conscious effort to follow the best practices to keep home networks secure.

Best Practices to Keep Home Networks Secure

Typically home networks utilize a router/modem that is supplied by the ISP. In this case, the device is typically already set up with a unique secure password, which can be changed at the user’s discretion. However, if you are providing your own router it is necessary to take preliminary actions to ensure the network is secure.

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

In cases where the environment is a smart home that was built with that concept in mind, there may already be the necessary network router(s) in place. In this case, there is typically more than one network. All of the IoT devices will run on their own network, and all other devices like laptops, tablets, and cellphones will use a separate network. For setup recommendations and best practices for securing smart networks refer to my article entitled “Smart Homes ~ Should We Fear Digital Intruders?

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Some routers come out of the box with default credentials in place. These are not only not unique, but they are also simple credentials like “admin” for the username, and “password” for the password. Changing these credentials is the first thing that should be done with any network device directly out of the box. In addition, the guest account should be turned off, and only turned back on when needed.

Wireless networks: Best practices to keep home networks secure

Unlike a connected local area network, a wireless local area network does not know the confines of the walls of the dwelling. The wireless signals can travel as far as 1000 feet. With technologies like 5G and Wi-Fi 6, the range is extended and there can be many more additional devices connected that all share the same network. So, there is more data and services at risk. This creates many points of vulnerability and exposes more attack surfaces. Precautions must be taken to ensure people near-by can not access your network. This could be hackers intending to compromise the network or simply a neighbor piggybacking your Internet service.

Going wireless means encryption becomes a necessity

Always configure your wireless routers with the highest level encryption offered by the device. If the router does not offer Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption it should be replaced. A quality router like the ASUS AC2900 WiFi Dual-band Gigabit Wireless Router with 1.8GHz Dual-core Processor has security features that will secure your home network and offer the ability for future network expansion. Your router is your first line of defense against intruders from the outside Internet so it must be secure and equipped with a firewall. Most owner manuals have written procedures for verifying the firewall is active and configured properly.


More general practices to help ensure a secure and safe home network.

Read more: Home network security using a VPN

Featured image by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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