Navigating the Ocean of Technology - Part 2
In our last blog, we asked you to make a list of all your computing devices so that we can help you secure your home network. That includes closing common security holes and backing up devices where possible.
If your computers and devices connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi, your home probably has a Wi-Fi router that connects your home to the Internet via your service provider (like Comcast or CenturyLink). Wi-Fi routers are inherently less secure than wired routers because connections to the internet can be made through your router from outside the walls of your home depending on your Wi-Fi router’s signal strength. It is important to make sure you have passwords in place to help protect access to your router and the connected devices.
For that reason, the first item on your list that we are going to check is the router. We are going to describe how you can secure your Wi-Fi router. The process for securing your Wi-Fi router will not be exactly as we describe but we’ll try to give you enough information to get it done. The manual that came with your router is really helpful but if you can’t find it, you can download it from the manufacturer’s website. Having a digital copy of the manual is actually better because you can search it for the sections and terms we mention.
With routers, there are at least two types of password: one that lets you log in to the router's control panel and a Wi-Fi password that connects your devices to the router (and from there to the Internet). Some Internet providers also require a password that is sent from the router to the provider so they know who to bill. That type of password is probably already set up so we will skip it for now. The first type of password, for router login, is the one that can wreak the most havoc. The factory-set default password is extremely easy to guess and must be changed in order to secure your Wi-Fi router. Seriously, just do a web search for your router model followed by "default” e.g. "wndr4300 default.” If your router has the default login and password, and you don’t have a Wi-Fi password, your connected devices are extremely vulnerable. This is like going to the lake and leaving your garage and front doors wide open; you’re likely to get hacked.
Look in your router manual’s Table of Contents for a section named something like “Getting Started.” That tells you how to connect and log in to your router control panel. If your username and password are the defaults given in the manual, find the “Administration” section of the manual which will explain how to change the username and/or password to something less easy to guess. Be sure to write this password down on a piece of tape and stick it to the underside of the router. You could also use a digital password vault which we will talk about in future blogs. In our next blog, we will talk about how to identify and set your Wi-Fi password to prevent unauthorized access to your Internet connection.
If you have questions or suggestions on future topics, write us at email@example.com or follow us on Facebook (#CompassComputerClinic). Stay safe and be happy!