It’s not easy to hack your home Wi-Fi without your password – but it can happen. Here is the complete checklist you need to make sure you’re safe online and prevent any unwanted access to your network.
Change your default username and password
Every router comes with a default username and password that you need to use when you unbox it. They are often really generic, often as simple as “username” and “password”. You must always change these, as they are public knowledge; there are even websites that list every default username and password for every router on sale right now. You can easily change these once you’ve logged in for the first time.
Regularly change your Wi-Fi password
Everyone gives out their Wi-Fi password. When friends come to visit, when family come to visit, you might even give it to your neighbour. It’s always a good idea to change your password regularly, so you can keep tabs on who is using bandwidth. Always make sure you use a secure, hard-to-guess password too. You can check out our tips on creating a secure password here. You can also choose to set up a guest network, where your visitors access their own branch of your Wi-Fi without having to give away your main password.
You might have to dig your router manual to get clear instructions on how to make these changes. There are plenty of sites online that can help you too. There’s a list of major router manufacturers coming up later.
Change your network name
The network name is what you see when you’re finding a network to connect to. It’s also known as the SSID and you can find it printed on the outside of your router. Often, your network provider will have their name in this – for example SKY or BT. It’s a bit more complicated to change your network name, but it can make things more secure, especially if neighbours and passers-by can see it. Some manufacturers have an app you can use to quickly and simply amend your details, but others require a bit of delving. Again, you might have to find the manual for your router or do an online search to find out how to make the change.
Get a firewall
A firewall is like having a guard patrolling your home network. It will watch for any incoming attempts to access your stuff and block anything you don’t want to be snooping around. Most good antivirus packages that you install on our PC or other dive come with a firewall built-in, or you could do an online search to find a reputable provider.
Update your router
It’s worth checking out the website for the company that make your router to see if they have released any updates. These updates could contain important security upgrades that will ensure your network is as safe as possible.