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Public wifi networks can be dangerous. The biggest concern is that your private information can be visible to other people. So when you’re using a public network, you don’t do any important banking, etc.

But what about at your home?

Are you sure that your home wifi network is safe and secure?

We’ve come up with 10 quick fixes to protect your home network. Despite how savvy most internet users are, a large fraction of those users don’t know how to protect their own wifi connection.

1. Encrypt Your Network

When you set up your wireless connection, you’ll be prompted to enter “information for the wireless network you want to add.” The questions are easy to understand but we want to point out one feature that might get missed. For the “security type,” select WPA2-Personal. The general rule is WPA > WPA2.

(Don’t use WEP. It is an outdated security type with vulnerabilities that were never patched.)

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2. Log In to Your Router

This might be something you never thought to do but it’s a vital step. Open your browser and type in the IP address of your router. Do not include https://www. If you don’t know the IP address, you can use Command Prompt to figure it out. All routers have a default admin and password. You can find yours by searching the model on Google or looking up your model on online directories like http://www.routerpasswords.com. (Shocking, eh?) Once you’re in, change your password.

3. Change Your SSID’s Name

While you’re still logged into your router, change your Service Set Identifier (SSID), also known as your Network Name. The setting should be under wireless settings. Most routers come with default names like ROUTER001, but they don’t have to be so dreary. In fact, a lot of witty names have come up over the years.

You can also hide your SSID by disabling the SSID Broadcast. There’s a bit of controversy around this step. On the one hand, it hides your network from popping up on any devices searching for nearby networks. On the other hand, if there was a hacker/snooper sniffing around, your hidden SSID might pique his interest. It’s a matter of preference really.

4. Turn Off Guest Network, If You Need To

A lot of routers are set up to automatically broadcast a secondary guest network. To turn it off, log back into your router and find the Guest Network settings (title may vary from router to router). Select disable and watch the guest network disappear. We recommend disabling it only if you don’t need it. Not sure if you do? Guest networks prevent your guests from seeing your internal network and shares. So, if you’ve got visitors all the time, keep the guest network up and running – just secure it with WPA2.

5. MAC Address Filtering

If you ever suspect that an unauthorized device is connected to your network, you can use your router to investigate. Routers track MAC addresses, which can be used to identify specific devices. If you never want to let a new device access your wifi without your knowledge, you can set up MAC address filtering to only allow certain devices to have access. And if you ever want to annoy someone, you can boot devices off a network over and over again from inside the router.

6. Spoof a MAC address to Test Your Security

Unsure if you got #5 right? Try changing your MAC address and then connecting to your wifi. If you can’t get on, you know you got the filtering done correctly.

7. Turn Down Transmit Power Control (If Applicable)

 If your network provides excellent strength from the edge of your property or from your neighbour’s home, you may want to turn down the transmit power control. But with limited range an issue for many home networks, we doubt this step applies to most users.

8. Update Router Firmware

Your router is like your computer. Sometimes, it may need updates. Pop into your router every so often and give the hardworking machine the thing it needs. Available updates will be visible when you log in, but before you get update-happy, make sure you backup your configuration before applying a firmware update. Sometimes a new update will wipe out your old settings.

9. Regular Check Ups

This goes hand in hand with the previous step. Logging into your router and poking around should take no more than 5 minutes. So why not do it every month or so? If there’s nothing wrong, you only spent 5 minutes of your life. If there is a problem, you might be able to spot it before there are any serious consequences. Along the same line, if you’ve shared your wifi password recently, take 2 minutes to change it every few weeks (or as needed).

10. Get IT Support

We’re sneaking this in here because it’s okay to feel nervous about handling techy stuff on your own. If you do, get some help. Contact Polarverse for guidance when you need it. We even have an online ticket system if you’re feeling shy.

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