Tech Tip: Protecting your network

June 30th, 2020 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. jameso

Aussie tech talk: Top tips from the team

If, like me, you’ve thought to yourself, how can I make sure that my home network is safe and protected from unwanted intruders or hackers, then this is the blog for you.

As we enter a new age where technology becomes smarter and working from home becomes more acceptable, it’s more important than ever to ensure you protect yourself.

We’ve curated some of the best tips and tricks to help you stay ahead of the game.

Change the name of your WiFi

It may sound trivial, but changing the name of your WiFi at home will actually make it harder for hackers.

How?

If you don’t change the name of your WiFi, infiltrators will be able to tell what make and model your router is and try to take advantage of any vulnerabilities it may have.

Changing the name to something like ‘Happy WiFi Happy Life’ will help keep your router safe and protect your identity. Don’t name it after yourself or use any personal information, for example ‘James’ WiFi’ or ‘123 Aussie St, Imaginary Suburb’. You don’t want people to know it’s your WiFi at first glance, as you also potentially leave yourself susceptible to identity theft.

Also, do not set the name of your WiFi to ‘Unhackable WiFi’, because someone just may see that as a challenge and leave you feeling silly.

Here’s some fun WiFi name ideas:

  • Tell my WiFi love her
  • Wi-Fight the feeling
  • The LAN Before Time
  • The Promise LAN
  • Titanic Syncing
  • Silence of the LANs
  • Yell “Mashed Potatoes” for WiFi
  • Nacho WiFi
  • Bill Wi, the Science Fi
  • Mum and Dad, Click Here for Internet
  • Help, I’m Trapped in this Router
  • Go Go Gadget Internet

Have a strong and unique password for your WiFi and modem

Your hardware will come with a default username and password. Once you’ve finished your install and everything is up and running, change the usernames and passwords to something which is harder to crack.

For maximum security, pick a password with at least 15 characters that varies between letters, number and symbols.

Keeping your default username and passwords means that, should the hacker know the manufacturer of the modem/router, they’ll be able to easily guess them.

Please, do not set your password to ‘12345’, ‘password’, ‘Pa$$word’, or anything even remotely similar. That’s one of the first things hackers will try.

It is also a good idea to change your pa$$word, sorry password, regularly. There isn’t an optimal time frame to change a password, so find your happy spot.

Anti-virus

One of our most common calls for help is for browser redirects.

What the heck is a browser and a redirect?

A browser is a program that you use to surf the internet for cute kitty or puppy videos. What else is the internet good for?

The more popular browsers are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

So, what do we mean by a browser redirect?

A browser redirect is when you type in www.google.com.au and it takes you to someplace that you know isn’t Google and no matter how many times you try to go to Google, you can’t.

This can happen due to a virus or malware that has slithered its way into your device or router. Think of it as a slippery snake in your system. You may find snakeskin all around, but you can’t see the snake.

This is when a good anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall come in handy. These programs can actively protect your system against these threats, or they can even search out hidden threats and destroy them while repairing the damage that the threat has caused.

Let’s start with anti-virus.

Are free anti-virus programs good enough or do I need to buy one?

The best, free anti-virus and firewall program is Windows Defender on PC. There is no hassle and it comes pre-installed.

What’s wrong with other the free anti-virus programs out there?

Think of it like you are sick and type your symptoms into Google. Lo and behold, you find out that things are much worse than you first thought, in fact, you might even be dying! But wait. If you buy this miracle cure, it’ll fix you!

Free anti-virus programs are often guilty of warning you that your PC is running too slow or has a broken registry that you need to FIX NOW! They will add in red lights or hazard signs for extra dramatic effect. Clicking the big FIX NOW button will take you to a sales shopping cart instructing you to purchase another program to save your device or network.

We do not recommend these programs, especially if they promise to mess with your system registry. Your computer may not turn back on after running these programs.

Anti-virus used to be the gold standard for protection. Now, it often misses the mark because the snakes got smarter (they aren’t all viruses anymore). Fear not, there is a better snake catcher out there!

Anti-malware

Anti-malware is the new emerging, gold standard snake catcher. There are more than just viruses out there bent on disrupting your life.

Anti-malware seeks out viruses, Trojans, spyware, ransomware, worms, and adware. It encompasses considerably more than a simple anti-virus program, which is why we recommend taking a look at this blog for more information on anti-malware programs.

WiFi encryption

WiFi encryption is incredibly important and comes in many different forms. Typically, WiFi encryption will default to Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which is relatively easy to crack. You want to be using the best encryption possible, ideally WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA 2), WPA 2 AES or WPA 3, all of which makes the encryption almost impossible to hack.

You can change your encryption by going into the router settings and changing it to your desired encryption system.

Turn off remote access

Unfortunately, a lot of routers come with ‘remote access’ enabled. This means that a device that is not connected to your network can gain access to the router via the internet, from any location.

You can turn it off by going into your router’s privacy settings.

Router location and use

Where possible, place your router in a position so that it maximises its range within your house whilst also minimising its reach outside of your home. This lowers the chance of a passer-by being able to stumble upon your network.

If you’re not home or not using your WiFi, the simplest and safest way to keep yourself secure is to turn off your router.

Email scams

Unfortunately, from time to time you’ll receive an email which will ask you to click on a link which will redirect you to a web page designed to infect your computer with a virus.

Before you click on any links, make sure you are 100% confident that you know or trust the sender.

If the email is addressed to ‘Dear email’ (e.g. abc@gmail.com) or ‘Dear Customer’, you should be wary of the contents of the email. At Aussie Broadband, we will always address the email to your name (e.g. Dear John).

These are just some of the easiest and best tips and tricks we can give you to ensure that your network is safer.

If you are a customer and want help with protecting your network, give our lovely customer support team a call and they’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Happy surfing into the depths of the internet.