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How Keep Your WiFi Safe

Most of us can’t imagine a life without WiFi, but even with all the advancements in security and encryption, many of us still worry about whether our WiFi is safe. How can you be sure that you’re using safe WiFi? Even with your home network, you have to worry about hackers.

WiFi home security is a hot topic, and it’s one that I’m pretty passionate about. A few years ago, I had problems keeping my WiFi secure. Somehow, someone figured out how to hack into my network. I started taking my network security more seriously, and today, my WiFi is more than secure than ever.

I’m going to share my tips and tricks to better secure your WiFi network.

Is WiFi Safe?

WiFi can be safe. Home, private networks are the safest option. Public WiFi may not be secure. If you have bills to pay or you want to buy something online, you’re better off waiting until you can connect to a private network that’s encrypted and password protected.

The biggest issue with public WiFi is that anyone can connect to it. Public networks may not treat your browsing activities or data as carefully as they should be.

One thing that I learned from my early years of using WiFi is that it’s best not to do anything too important while you’re connected to a coffee shop (or any other public) network. If the network isn’t secure, someone may be able to intercept your data or steal your information.

My advice? If you want to use safe, secure WiFi, connect to your home network or only private networks that you trust.

How to Secure WiFi Networks

It’s important to keep your WiFi network secure. Here are my best tips:

Create a Unique, Strong Password

The first thing I always recommend when securing WiFi networks is to create a new, unique and strong password. When you first had your Internet hooked up, your router had a default password.

You may or may not have changed that password. Some Internet service providers require you to create a new password when they first connect you, but others don’t. And if you buy a new router, it’s up to you to change it.

If you don’t remember changing your router’s password, then now is a good time to change it. Hackers can easily figure out your default password and get access to your network.

Norton recommends making WiFi passwords:

  • At least 20 characters
  • That include letters, numbers and symbols

Long passwords with different characters will make it more difficult for hackers to guess your password. Sure, a long password is harder to remember, but hackers will have a much harder time getting into your network.

Enable Encryption

Along with a strong password, you’ll want to enable encryption. In my opinion, this is the most important thing. Nearly all WiFi routers have an encryption feature, but you may need to enable it to get it working.

First, let’s check to see whether you have encryption enabled. I’m going to provide instructions for Windows 10 and for macOS.

For Windows 10

  • Look for the WiFi Connection icon on your taskbar, and click on it.
  • Click Properties. It should be underneath your WiFi connection.
  • Scroll down and look for WiFi details.
  • Next, look for Security Type. This will display your WiFi protocol.
  • If you don’t have encryption enabled, you won’t find any information on the network’s protocol.

For macOS

  • Press and hold the Option key.
  • Click the WiFi icon.
  • Look for your network details. It should list your security protocol, if any.

How to Enable Encryption

In order to enable or change your network’s encryption, you have to log into your router’s management or settings page.

From here:

  • Look for one of the following: Wireless Network, Wireless Security or Wireless Settings.
  • Next look for Security Mode, or some other similar option.
  • Choose WPA2 if it’s not already selected.
  • Once you enable encryption, you will need to set a new password.

One thing I do have to mention is that if you’re using a home WiFi booster to boost your WiFi signal, you’ll want to make sure that your booster also has encryption enabled. Most boosters, including my favorite RangeXTD, will have encryption that you can enable with the touch of a button. Many people think there’s a RangeXTD scam because they don’t realize that you can actually enable encryption on the device.

So, make sure that you not only enable encryption on your WiFi network, but also on your booster if you’re using one.

Change Your Network’s Default Name

I also recommend changing your network’s default name, also known as the SSID (service set identifier). Router manufacturers give their routers a default SSID, and this is usually the manufacturer’s name.

If you leave the default SSID and hackers can see your network on a list of available networks, then there’s a much higher risk that they’ll be able to hack into your WiFi.

Change your SSID to something that isn’t too obvious. Don’t use any personal information or anything related to your router’s manufacturer.

Here’s how to change your SSID:

  • Enter your router’s IP address in a web browser.
  • Log in as administrator.
  • Navigate to Settings.
  • Look for SSID or WiFi name.
  • Enter a new name for your network.

Only Give Your Password to Trusted People

If you want to keep your home’s WiFi secure, then treat your password and SSID like your own personal information – only give it to people that you trust.

I personally change my password every few months because I know that friends and family have my network’s password. I trust them, but I still don’t know what they’re doing with my information or who has access to their smartphones and other devices. Changing my password eliminates this worry. Sure, I have to give them my new password every time they come over, but it’s a small price to pay for security.

If you’re wondering “is my WiFi secure?” follow these tips to make your WiFi network safer. Encryption and a strong password are the two best things you can do for your network, but these other tips and tricks will further help protect your WiFi.

August 13, 2020

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