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What to do to prevent your home Wi-Fi from going public

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What to do to prevent your home Wi-Fi from going public

What to do to prevent your home Wi-Fi from going public

30.12.2022

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Previously, we've talked about how to use public networks safely. But what if connecting to your Wi-Fi is as easy as connecting to a network in a cafe? Let's work out how to protect your network.

If you've noticed your router light blinking relentlessly, even when your devices aren't connected to it, or your download speed is spiking, you've probably been tapped into by a crafty neighbour.


It can download movies and games unceremoniously, it can visit banned sites, or it can hack into the Pentagon's database. The latter option is unlikely, of course, but it would be easier for it to reach your computer through your home network.

The option of websites is not so harmless. If your neighbour is still in the habit of Googling Yandex, that's half the trouble. But if he tries to buy a kidney online using your IP address, that's a problem.

The Wi-Fi user who relentlessly downloads new seasons of TV series is also going to cause a lot of problems for your connected devices. The speed will drop noticeably and you won't even be able to watch videos without lags.

Step 1: get rid of parasites

Disconnect all devices from your Wi-Fi, leaving only your computer (or laptop) connected to the router via cable. Go into your router's settings. We told you how to do this here.

Next, go to the wireless settings (Network Statistics / Wireless / WLAN) and find the menu where the connected clients are displayed (Statistics / Status / Associated devices). A list of connected devices with their addresses and names will appear. If you have disabled all your gadgets, only your computer's address should be listed. If the list includes more than one address, you need to find your own (how to view your own MAC address) and block out the «others». This is why you should have unplugged phones and tablets beforehand, so that you don't accidentally exclude them.

Step 2: change the password


If your neighbours are connecting to you, your combination was probably easy to crack. So a new password has to be really complicated. We also told you how to change your password in our article on basic router setup.

In addition to the Wi-Fi password, we highly recommend changing the password to the router itself. Login - «admin», password - «admin» remain unchanged for most router users, and often this combination can become a problem. For example, someone who is already connected to the router goes into its settings and changes the password, or blocks your address. You can, of course, reset the router to factory settings with a button and reconfigure it, but it is still better to change the password.

Step 3: choose strong encryption

Once you've kicked out the intruders and changed the password, you can move on to additional security. Let's start with proper encryption.

We recommend choosing WPA-2. It is the most popular and rather reliable Wi-Fi security protocol at the moment. The encryption type is set in the same menu as the password. There is also a newer and more reliable WPA-3, but many devices (both Wi-Fi routers and endpoints) do not support it.

Step 4: Filter addresses

For people who rarely host, you can set MAC address filtering and add only your devices to the list of allowed devices. If new devices are constantly connecting to your network, however, you will spend a lot of time entering a new address into the list.

Filtering can be set in the MAC Filtering tab of the wireless settings.

Step 5: disconnect unnecessary items

WPS (or QSS) technology allows you to connect devices to the network by pressing a button on the router without entering a password. If you do not use this method, disable WPS. Usually, this service is placed in a separate item in the router's settings menu and is easy to find and deactivate.

It is also advisable to disable UpnP. It is a set of protocols used in routers that allow automatic search and communication with new devices. You should activate it in case you ever want to set up port forwarding.

Step 6: don't forget to update


New malware and attempts to attack users' equipment appear every day. In response, developers are addressing software vulnerabilities and creating new protection barriers for hardware. This is true not only for computers and phones, but also for routers. It is therefore advisable to follow the release of new firmware versions from the manufacturer and their contents (if a non-serious update is released, it can be postponed) and to install it. This will help avoid becoming a victim of one of the router attacks.

Security is always a complex matter, so in addition to the correct router settings, you need to take other precautions when using your network. It is important that not only you but also your family members are aware of this, especially those who have little idea of the kind of trouble that can occur when working on a computer.

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