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Lock the house – check. Lock the car – check. Lock your wireless network – better check.

By Mark Molzen

By Stephanie Hopper, Information Security Engineer

Many households today run several devices on a wireless home network linked to the Internet. These devices can include computers, smart phones, gaming devices, laptops, TVs and tablets, just to name a few. Even some household appliances can be connected wirelessly to the Internet. And we should all know by now that connecting anything to the Internet can pose serious risks if our devices are not secure.

The basics
Wireless networks can be set up to either be secure or open. If a wireless network is open, it means anyone can connect to it at will. When you enable security on your wireless network, only people and devices with the network password will be able to connect to it. Most CenturyLink modems are set up to have wireless security turned on by default.

What you can do
Do you have a wireless router for your home network? Do you know if that router is secure? Following are a few simple steps you can take to make your router more secure:

Change the name of your router: The manufacturer assigns a default name to your router called the service set identifier (SSID). Change your SSID (your network name) to a name that is unique to you and won’t be easily guessed by others.

Change the pre-set password on your router: When creating a new password, make sure it is at least eight characters long, using a mix of numbers, letters and symbols. Make sure you store this password in a secure location.

Review security options: When choosing your router’s level of security, opt for or upgrade to wireless protected access (WPA2), if available, or WPA.

Create a guest password: Some routers allow for guests to use the network via a separate password. If you have many visitors to your home, it’s a good idea to set up a guest network.

Use a firewall: Firewalls help keep hackers, viruses and worms from accessing your computer and stealing or corrupting your data. While anti-virus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for attempts to access your system and blocking communications with sources you don’t permit. Your operating system and/or security software likely comes with a pre-installed firewall, but make sure you turn on these features. Many wireless devices also come with a firewall installed — just check to make sure that it is enabled.

If you need help finding and changing your network name (SSID) and password, CenturyLink has a set of instructions that are clear and easy to follow: Finding Wireless Settings without the Modem Sticker.

Protecting your home network helps you and your family use the Internet more safely and securely. Why not take a few easy steps to make sure you’re secure?

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