Secure your home network.

You probably use a ‘router’ to connect to the internet. Your router is a small device, usually including WiFi, that sits virtually between your internet service provider (ISP) and your computers and devices. Take these steps to make sure your router is secure:

  1. Change your ‘admin’ password. If you don’t know it, it’s probably printed on the bottom of the router. You can usually do this from a website built into your router (at an address like http://192.168.1.1).
  2. Update the router’s ‘firmware’ – the software that makes the router work. If you figured out how to change your router’s password, you can update the firmware from the same place.
  3. Disable admin access (‘remote management’) from the internet. Many routers have this option; disabling means you can still access the router from home but hackers can’t get there from Russia.
  4. Turn on encryption for your WiFi (wireless) network if you haven’t already. You will probably use WPA2 – if only WEP is an option, replace your router.
  5. Turn on alerts. If your router can send alerts using an app, text, or email, set them. Some routers can send a warning for problems and suspicious activity on your network.
  6. Check the age of your router. If it’s more than 5 years old, the manufacturer might not even support it anymore. That means you won’t get security fixes if there are problems – and it could be time to replace it.

How you do these things (above) will vary depending on the router you have. Visit the manufacturer’s website to find instructions if you didn’t keep the manual – or get help from a friend or family member. If you have other network devices, like wireless access points or switches, take the same steps for them as well.

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