HOW TO SECURE YOUR ROUTER THE FTC WAY

When you are logged on to the internet, you are transported in a whole new digital world of people, some of whom do not have the best of motives, so just like in the real world, you must protect yourself. While most of you probably already have some sort of Malware and anti-virus software, what you might not consider is your safety over WiFi.

There are many free programs available for download to the average person that make hacking into someone’s WiFi not only easy, but as simple as clicking a few buttons. If this sort of thing is available for everyone, then you cannot imagine what the real hackers are using.

The government, more specifically, the Federal Trade Commission, offers some very helpful tips on how to stay secure over WiFi. While these won’t completely protect you, and you should always be sure to process any vulnerable data on an encrypted connection, these will keep you safe enough for daily internet use.

  1. The first and perhaps most overlooked is changing your router name from its default. If your network is a name that only you recognize, then anyone trying to target you will have to guess which network is yours rather than being able to trace it back to a default router name that comes in a very easy pattern from the manufacturer.
  2. This one you’ve probably done, but make sure you change the network password to something that only you know. This one seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people disregard this advice. Every provider uses a very simple and easy to guess password for all networks… if you can protect yourself in ANY way, it should be to change your password.
  3. Turn off all of the “remote management” features that might have come with your router. Sometimes your wireless router will allow you to manage your device from a mobile app, or a website, or even for customer service to have access… always turn those off until you need them, because hackers can easily impersonate you or customer service and begin to control your router through these features.
  4. Once your router is set up and ready to go, make sure you log out as the administrator. If you stay logged in, all a hacker would have to do is get access to your computer in any way digitally… or even stealing it or accessing it directly while you step away to refill your water at the coffee shop.
  5. Keep your router up to date with all of the manufacturer updates. These companies are working around the clock in order to keep up with the latest vulnerabilities in WiFi and creating protection against them. You want to sign up for updates from this manufacturer and download those updates as they come out, so that you can stay protected from the newest viruses and access points.

While this last piece of advice seems obvious as well, it’s worth saying. Once you secure your router, make sure to secure your computer as well with anti-virus and malware protection, but ABOVE ALL… be conscious of what you are doing and where you are going, and this goes for when you are using mobile hotspots like Skyroam and accessing the world wide web from the furthest corners of the world. You must always keep your wits about you, and surf cautiously.

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