Securing Your Home WIFI
The internet’s history goes back some decades – email has been around since the 1960s, file sharing since the 1970s, and TCP/IP - which the internet relies on - from the early 80s. But it was the creation of the world wide web in 1989, that set the revolution rolling. Today, 62% of the world's population are online. That’s a jaw dropping estimate of 5,226,000,000 people!
YOU NEED TO SECURE YOUR CONNECTION
Home users connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi router or 'Hub'. As such, it is often targeted by cybercriminals who wish to hijack your online connection or infiltrate your home network for personal gain.
HOW DO I SECURE MY HUB?
Most reputable internet service providers (such as BT, PlusNet, Sky etc), will provide customers with documentation, videos and FAQ pages to help them secure their hub from attack. Usually this entails logging into a web page known as the administrative portal and from here it is possible to configure your hub.
DON'T BE INTIMIDATED BY THIS!
It's not as scary as you think. Ideally, you should:
1. CHANGE THE DEFAULT PASSWORD FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE PORTAL
In most cases, this password is either 'admin' or 'password'. Given how important this portal is, it is critically important to change the default password as quickly as possible. If you are creating a password, use 3 random words, interjected with digits, symbols and mixed case, like this:
Because this feels like a passphrase, its easier to remember and because you're going to end up with something over 15 characters, its going to be pretty hard to crack.
2. ENABLE 'WPA2 PERSONAL'
This will encrypt communication between your hub and your home devices - meaning that you keep your digital data away from intruders and identity thieves. Quite often, this is as simple as checking a tick box.
3. RENAME YOUR WI-FI
Quite often, your Wi-Fi will be something like BThub500, or PlusNetSD50. We recommend you rename it. This prevents cybercriminals identifying the make or model of your Hub, which can be helpful information for attackers.
4. WI-FI PLACEMENT
Most hubs have the wireless access key stamped on it, so be careful where you place it - on the window sill, for example, is a big no-no. You should also know that most hubs are omnidirectional, broadcasting a signal outwards in all directions - like a giant inflatable beach ball. Careful placement of the hub will not only maximise connectivity inside your home but prevent your signal being broadcast outside the premise for any passer-by to see.
ACCESSING YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE PORTAL
Easy! Fire up your favourite search engine and enter something like 'BT hub portal'. You will be given an IP address.
The PlusNet portal is 192.168.1.254
Type this into the browser address bar and Bob's your uncle.
HOW TO TELL IF MY WI-F HAS BEEN HACKED:
You will probably see a decrease in internet speeds because of the heavier usage. To check, log into your portal and look for a list of connected devices. These details may be under a section called Attached Devices, Device List or Home Network for instance.
Keep in mind, that some of the devices connected my have names that are not immediately recognisable, but which are completely legitimate, so be sure to check all wi-fi enabled devices around the home before you start panicking.
Sometimes it is possible to set these up via your administrative portal. However, most internet service providers allow you to configure your rules via your online account. This usually includes time constraints and blocking inappropriate content. Check with your internet service provider on how to access this.
You should seriously consider purchasing antivirus software - to reduce the likelihood of downloading malware.
You should update your browser - to afford maximum protection from online threats.