At home, you protect your family with locks, lights and other precautions. With today's increasing instances of identity theft, it’s helpful to think of your wireless network as a part of that same important system – and take steps to keep it secure.

When you set up your network, or at your earliest convenience, review your wireless router user manual to make sure you know how it works. You can also check out the manufacturer’s website for more information on your specific device. Then follow these suggested steps to strengthen your home wireless network defenses:

  1. Create a unique Service Set Identifier (SSID) – essentially the “address” that identifies your wireless connection. Hackers know the most commonly used SSIDs, so changing it from the default version will help thwart their efforts.
  2. Change the wireless password regularly, using a strong combination of letters and numbers to deter system hacking.
  3. Disable the Broadcast option, if available in your SSID features options. SSID Broadcast helps cybercrooks find your wireless connection and gain unauthorized access to the network.
  4. Enable the encryption feature so that only your intended recipients can access the information you send.
  5. Disable file and print share features to limit a hacker’s ability to steal your data or commandeer your computer’s resources should they be able to bypass your router’s encryption.
  6. Secure your wireless access point to reduce the opportunity for others to access your network. If possible, use directional antennas to direct broadcasting inward. Radio signals are visible to others trying to use your network.
  7. Use Media Access Control (MAC) Address filtering to prevent or permit specific PCs to access your wireless network.
  8. Turn off any Remote Management features. If your router offers an option to allow remote access to its controls – typically to enable the manufacturer to provide technical support – turn it off. Hackers can also use these features to access your home network.
  9. Keep your router up to date. The router’s software needs occasional security updates. Visit the manufacturer’s website to see if a new version is available for download. Register your router with them and sign up to get notifications when new updates are available.
  10. 10. Don’t forget to secure your computer, too. To protect against the latest threats, set your computer’s security software to update automatically. This includes your operating system, the web browsers you use, and your apps.

These suggestions should reduce the likelihood of security breaches but do not guarantee total wireless security. Guard your information carefully and know what to do in the event that your wireless network is hacked.

Disclosures

The information and recommendations contained here have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and represent the best current opinion on the subject. No warranty, express or implied by KeyBank, is made as to the absolute correctness or sufficiency of the information contained. This is meant as general information only; particular situations may require additional actions.

This document is designed to provide general information only and is not comprehensive nor is it legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. KeyBank does not make any warranties regarding the results obtained from the use of this information.