Secure Home Network Setup

The foundation of any smart home is the WiFi network that is connected to the Internet. Internet access starts with an Internet Service Provider, or ISP. ISPs usually provide a modem to the household, which is connected to a router typically purchased by the homeowner. Both are required to access the Internet and for the home to become “smart.” When considering smart home security, T&M's cyber security experts have a few recommendations on what you can do to secure your home network.

secure home network setup

In many areas there is only one ISP servicing the region, so the homeowner does not have choice when it comes to internet providers. However, consumers have a large selection of routers to chose from. Modern routers are amazing- they perform the jobs of multiple devices by redirecting Internet data, providing wireless Internet, as well as executing security functions. Most routers tend to be plug-and-play, working almost instantly out of the box.

There are a few additional configuration steps you should take to help ensure the security of your home network:

  • For starters ALWAYS change the default password of your wireless network. Most routers provide a default password that is common and easy to guess such as “admin” or “password.” Sometimes default passwords are harder to guess, instead being composed of a random assortment of alphanumeric characters that are impossible to remember. For your convenience and security, change this password to a string of words or a phrase, with a couple of numbers included to keep the password complex.
  • Be sure to change the password to the administrative page of your router and make sure that this password is different from your WiFi password.
  • When deciding which router to purchase, make sure that the leading encryption standard is supported and enabled. Currently, this is referred to as “WPA2.”
  • If your router has firewall functionality, enable it. The specifics of how to enable these settings vary from router to router, but a step-by-step process should be included in the router’s documentation.
  • Lastly, be aware of the devices connected to your network. You should be familiar with what each one of them is, as they can range from tablets and computers to phones or even household appliances. If you see a foreign device on your network, restart your router and change the passwords associated with it immediately.
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