Security Tips CISCO students header image

Keeping your home safe from hackers

Students were charged with narrowing down security options for home users. Here are their tips.

The importance of internet security can never be overestimated. 

Students in our CISCO Network Security program will land an entire career in keeping digital data secure. They are challenged daily to identify how people can secure their WiFi networks, and those methods apply to your home network as much as to a workplace or organization.

These future network security professionals teamed up and pared down the best ways you can maintain internet security in your home. Here are their recommendations:

  1. Change the default user name and password which came with your router. Most routers come with a default name, which may be visible to anyone, as well as a default password. If you don’t change them, anyone who has been granted access (your kids’ friends, visiting relatives, etc.) could change it and potentially lock you out.
  2. Turn on Wireless Network Encryption. If your network is not secure, unauthorized users could access it and obtain personal information or use your connection for anything, from decreasing performance to illegal activities.
  3. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN adds a layer of protection and privacy to anything you do online at home, or anywhere on your phone.
  4. Hide your network from view--turn off its SSID identifier broadcast. Though not a stand-alone effective security measure, it will prevent people who are not tech-savvy from connecting to your network. 
  5. Turn off your Wi-Fi Network when not at home. Most people simply leave their router on all the time, but this step helps reduce radio signals, prevents potential hackers from connecting, and helps conserve energy.
  6. Keep your router firmware up to date. Just like a computer, routers have operating systems and software. Keeping it updated helps maintain connectivity and better ensures security.
  7. Use Firewalls. Firewalls provide protection against hackers by placing a barrier around your network, blocking intrusions and preventing slowdowns. This is especially useful if you leave your router on all the time (see #5 above).
  8. Place the router in a centralized location in your home. This reduces distance to devices you use and eliminates wasted area where you won’t likely be using them. Consider the most likely areas you’ll use devices and find the most central location.
  9. Resource guide from the National Security Education Association
by Jeff Knapp - March 11, 2022