4 Simple tips for enhancing your home wireless network security

September 23rd, 2020
4 Simple tips for enhancing your home wireless network security

There’s no denying the benefits of working with geographically distributed teams, but the sudden social distancing restrictions introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 caught a lot of businesses off guard. Most concerning are the unique security challenges remote work presents. When employees aren’t working on site, they’re typically using their home wireless networks to get online and access company apps and data.

These networks are simply not as secure as corporate networks. Few are even password protected or, if they are, they use default login credentials that can easily be guessed by an attacker.

To secure your remote workforce, you need to implement various technological measures like multifactor authentication and secure application gateways. You can also avoid sensitive data being stored outside the company network by using virtual desktops hosted in the cloud. But while monitoring user activities and managing access rights correctly are essential, there’s no substitute for proper employee training.

Here are four home networking security tips that will ensure your business’s and your employees’ safety:

1. Change the network name

Every wireless router has an identifier known as an SSID, which is the name of the wireless network. Some routers can create multiple networks, in which case each one will have its own SSID.

It’s important to change the default SSID because an attacker may be able to find out the brand and model of the router from the SSID alone, which greatly simplifies the process of hacking into the network.

Home networks should always use names that don’t contain any personal information, such as the owner’s name or address.

2. Avoid default passwords

Routers also come with preset wireless access keys, which are usually found on the back or side of the device. These credentials are required when first installing and connecting a router, but shouldn’t be used thereafter.

Many default passwords are easy to guess by the router brand and model. Good wireless passwords should be at least 20 characters long and contain numbers, letters, and symbols.

Users should also change the admin console login credentials. Default login credentials are usually “admin” and “password,” which are very easy for hackers to circumvent.

3. Activate network encryption

Wireless routers support various encryption systems, the most commonly used today being WPA2. This replaces the original WPA and WEP before that, neither of which should be used at all these days. Anyone thinking of buying a new router in the near future should consider getting one that supports the new WPA3 encryption standard.

Most consumer-grade routers have encryption enabled by default. If it’s necessary to enter a password to connect to the network, then encryption is in place. However, if the connection is open, then anyone can connect and potentially intercept traffic sent across the network. Also, older standards, like WEP and WPA, can be easily bypassed, so it’s always a good idea to check which one the router is using from the admin panel.

4. Update the router firmware

As with any other computing device, the software installed on a router is an essential part of network security. The router’s firmware, like any other software, may contain flaws that are only discovered after the device has been released. Hackers routinely exploit outdated and vulnerable software systems, and routers are a favorite target.

Although newer routers normally keep themselves updated automatically, it never hurts to check. In some cases, it’s necessary to turn the automatic updates setting on, as it might not always be enabled by default.

HERO Managed Services provides the full range of managed IT services your business needs to ensure remote workers don’t end up being the weakest link in your cybersecurity. Contact us today to get your free IT consultation.

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