Is My Home Network Secure?

Is My Home Network Secure?

When you’re at work, you access your email, documents, financials, and so on with a certain level of assurance of security. You probably didn’t set up that business network though.

In a Gallup survey of 15,000 people, 43% cited some remote work. Of those working remote, how many don’t consider the security of their home network?

Most homeowners stick to the basics with their home network; functionality. After all, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

But between online shopping, bill payment, and your client’s sensitive data, do you actually know if your home network secure?

Here are four steps you can take to make sure it is.

Change your router login

When you move into a new home, it’s exciting. You’re redecorating and getting your new accounts turned on and getting your cable and internet hooked up. The last thing on your mind is changing the login credentials of your router.

If you are using a router setup by your ISP, it’s likely that both your username and password are admin.

This is a serious security issue if left unaddressed. Unique login credentials are a basic line of defense.

To change your login:

  • Access the login screen to your router by entering the IP address of your router into the search bar.
  • Login using username and password found on the back or bottom of the router.

(Probably admin and admin)

  • Under Security Settings, select User.
  • This should bring you to a prompt to change the password.

While most routers are similar if you have issues contact your ISP for specific instructions.

Enable WPA2

Enabling WPA2 means that the data you share over your wireless network is encrypted. This protects sensitive information that may be transmitted.

You can use either WPA2 – Personal or WPA2 – Enterprise. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. If you are less tech-savvy, personal will work just fine for you.

To turn on WPA2:

  • While logged into your router, select the network you wish to change.
    • Either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz
  • Under Basic or Security, select the encryption type you want to use.

Disable Your 2.4 GHz Network

Lower frequencies travel longer distances. This is why you can see your neighbors wifi and their clever network names. The only problem with this is that if they can see it so can potential hackers.

The 5GHz network is a more recent development. Because it operates at a higher frequency, it is limited by solid walls and won’t function outside of a home. Not all devices are compatible with a 5GHz network, such as iPhone 4s and earlier and even some tablets. Although, if you do a lot of streaming, you’ll enjoy faster speeds with 5GHz.  

To disable your 2.4GHz network:

  • While logged into your router, select 2.4GHz network.
  • Under Basic, select Disable 2.4GHz Wireless

Firewall

Firewalls are a front line of defense in network security. They limit traffic based on security rules. Most wireless routers come with some form of firewall. However, it may not be enabled by default.

To turn on your router’s firewall:

  • While logged into your router, select Access Control.
  • Select Firewall.
  • From the menu, you can select the level of security from the firewall.

    Better Safe than Sorry

    At ITonDemand, we are fully committed to secure systems, wherever they may be.

    Don’t neglect your home network. It may be out of sight, running peacefully in the background. But, it is a vital part of your data security.

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    My Internet is Running Very Slow, What Do I Do?

    My Internet is Running Very Slow, What Do I Do?

    The internet gives us a library of information at our fingertips. When it is efficient and working it is a glorious thing. When it is not…well obscenities and frustration abound. So what do you do when you notice your internet is slowing you down?

    Check Your Connection

    The first step to addressing the problem is to identify that you are connected to the right connection in the first place. Your computer is designed to connect to the optimal connection with the strongest signal. Sometimes this happens to be a signal you haven’t used in a long time or a public wifi connection which are notoriously slow. Go into your computer’s settings and look at the wifi connection and confirm you are connected to the wifi you want to be on. If not, simply choose the preferred connection. If you are connected via a cable, it’s possible there could be something going on with your switching hardware.

    Renew It

    If you’ve checked your connection and everything is working fine, then you may need to re-establish your connection to the router network. To do this, click on your advanced settings for your connection and “Renew DHCP Lease”. This should reconnect you to the router.

    Still having problems?

    The final solution to look into is the router itself. If you have proper privileges and access to the router a reset of the router could solve the problem. If that still doesn’t work you may need to login to the admin panel and update the router’s firmware. Networks can be tricky since there are so many elements that constitute your path to the internet. Check out our network basics video to learn some more details about how to troubleshoot home network issues.

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    Understanding how to keep your WiFi more secure

    Understanding how to keep your WiFi more secure

    When you log into WiFi at a public place, such as a library, a school, a business, a restaurant, or the like, it’s likely your anti-virus software will warn you of logging into an unsecure network.

    But, did you ever think that when logging onto the WiFi at your home or business you may still be facing some security issues? Are you aware of the risks involved with not securing your WiFi? It’s important to keep in mind that WiFi is a target for hackers. Securing your WiFi may be way easier than you think.

    Here are a few tips on how to do that.

     

    Change the name

    One of the first steps is to create a strong name for the WiFi network to replace the default network name, such as xfinitywifi, AT&T or Netgear (My neighbor uses FBI as his network name). Fossbytes says most hackers have access to tools such as “rainbow table” that can break into most any network simply by knowing the default SSID name.

     

    Protected Access

    Another security measure to use is enabling your WiFi protected access. When setting up the router, the setting can be seen as WPA2 or WPA-PSK. Fossbytes said older routers will have something called WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, but that’s not much of an effective deterrent to modern hackers.

     

    Firewalls

    One tool to use, if it’s built-in, is a firewall for your router, which can obscure a hacker’s view of the network, Fossbytes said. Another thing to consider is turning off the Universal Plug and Play protocol on the router. Although this is meant to make connecting devices easier, Fossbytes said the use of it makes a potential entry point for hackers.

     

    VPN

    Another way to protect your WiFi network is to create a Virtual Private Network, which encrypts data traveling between a computer and a server. Through a VPN, even if a computer is logged onto a public WiFi, any hacker paying attention to traffic will only see encrypted data shared, Techify said in a recent article on ways to protect a WiFi network. VPN works by “giving your location anonymity on its server and even creates its own firewall to protect your network traffic,” Fossbytes said.

     

    Change your password

    Lastly, one simple, but crucial point of protection, and one that we here at ITonDemand stress over and over again, change your password. Using a strong password, or perhaps an even stronger pass phrase, can cut down on a hacker’s ability to penetrate a network or computer.

    If you’re still concerned about setting up a secure network, don’t hesitate to reach out to ITonDemand for help. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

     

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    Your Wifi Security Is Our Top Priority

    Your Wifi Security Is Our Top Priority

    As you arrive home tonight and turn on the news, you may be greeted with the unpleasant news that ‘Wireless Internet Isn’t Safe, It’s Been Hacked!’

    Please be assured that we are monitoring the situation, and patching all related systems that we manage to insure that you are protected.

    This security breech is different from the normal methods that culprits and criminals have historically used to access your data (brute force, social engineering, phishing, etc…) in that the vulnerability is on the client machine, not the Wireless Access Point.

    This means that each device you have connecting to your Wi-Fi is a potential security risk, and should be updated as soon as possible.

    – For ITonDemand customers using Windows workstations, updates pushed to your computers on October 10th included the applicable security updates. Please be sure that you have rebooted to apply any patches that we have deployed to you.

    – For customers using Mac or any other platform, as the updates become available for your particular hardware they will be automatically pushed out by those vendors as they become available.

    All available patches for ITonDemand managed Wi-Fi devices have been applied and will be pushed out to your managed devices this evening to insure that they are protected from this attack as well.

    In the event that you have a non-managed access point (wireless router) or would like to consult with us on your best options to be sure that your business and data are protected, please feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to assist.

    As always, thank you for being an ITonDemand customer!

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    Ungeek the Speak

    We get questions from our clients all the time about the “Cloud.” We answer them on this episode of Ungeek the Speak. This discussion is between Nate Breitbach our VP of IT Services and his Director of Engineering, Chance Ellis, around the Cloud.  What it is, some pointers as a business owner on how to think about the cloud, what it can be used for, and breaking down some of those Techie “As A Service” concepts like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), IT as a Service (ITaaS).  We simplify the understanding of these things, so you can make better decisions for your business.

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    Getting The Most Out Of Your IT Call

    Getting The Most Out Of Your IT Call

    We’ve all been there. Your computer or smart device, cable box, or what have you, isn’t functioning properly and you have to make that call, sometimes the dreaded call, to tech support. You know that when you make the call you’re likely to have to go through an automated system before you get to talk to a live person.

    One key point to remember: You may be frustrated and that is understandable, but getting emotional does not help the situation. It will not resolve a problem any quicker and can actually slow the process down. Remember to remain calm and do your best to remain polite, and find peace in the thought that this will always be the returning response from the technician.

    This can be a stressful time, especially if your startup or small business is dependent on the malfunctioning device. It’s also stressful if it’s your personal device, but dollars may not be on the line, just hair-pulling.

    Before making the call you’ve agonized over what you’re going to say, even if you don’t know exactly what the problem is. Having as much data as possible to tell a tech support representative is the key to making the call (or online chat) as painless an experience as possible. Lifewire laid out some key points that are handy to have:

    Details of the problem – is there an error message? What does it say?

    When did the problem begin?

    Have you taken any troubleshooting measures, such as turning your device off then back on?

    But, in addition to those points, here at ITonDemand, we think there are a few other things to keep in mind when calling IT support.

    Verify if there have been any changes to the device environment – a recent installation of hardware or software or if there has been an update.

    Have device specifics handy. In other words, what is the make and model of the problem device? Knowing a serial number can also come in handy.

    Did you reboot? (That’s usually a first stop in IT questions, but it’s good to know if you have already tried.)

    Another thing to know is whether or not you have Internet access. Wi-Fi can go down. And sometimes it can happen while you’re in the middle of a project and you don’t realize it. Try to open a Web browser and see if an error appears.

    If you do have Internet access, don’t be afraid to Google the problem while you’re on the line with tech support. You may come across something that helps the situation.

    Repeat yourself. Did we say that already? At ITonDemand, we recommend providing information to tech support in the same manner you would leave a telephone number on an answering service – with pauses and slow, deliberate intonations.

    Go into the conversation with the tech support rep armed with as much information as possible. That will make things go smoothly and, hopefully, quickly. And don’t be afraid to repeat the details. Be clear and concise when talking with tech support. The better the lines of communication, the quicker the service should be.