Have you found yourself working from home unexpectedly during the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you’re not alone. Employees throughout Lake Okeechobee and the rest of the country are dealing with the scenario of telecommuting, some for the very first time.
During this rapid transition, businesses and their teams are working their way through the adjustments in technology service and security and how they differ now that everyone’s working from home.
An important consideration is the security of your home router. Home Wi-Fi’s are generally less secure than those designed for business use, plus they typically have less secure devices sharing the same network.
What happens when your work computer is on the same network as your teen’s gaming computer or an Alexa device? It can leave it more at risk of a data breach.
Hackers often first go after “high risk” devices. These are smart gadgets, IoT devices, and other systems that are less secure. IoT devices are particularly at risk when it comes to home networks.
98% of all IoT device traffic is not encrypted, leaving these devices at risk of a breach.
Once a hacker gets into a device, they can use scripts to easily discover other devices (like your work PC) that share the same Wi-Fi network and hack into those devices too.
But we’ve got a simple trick to prevent this from happening and to keep your work PC safer when you’re working from home.
Easy Steps to Segment Your Router
Router segmenting may sound complicated, but it’s fairly simple. What it means is setting up two Wi-Fi networks on your router, instead of one. This allows you to separate high-risk devices from those that contain sensitive data, like your work laptop or smartphone. This means hackers can’t discover those devices on a separate network.
To do this, you’re going to use a common feature of consumer routers, which is the “guest network” feature.
Guest networks are normally used to allow guests to use a secure wireless network when they’re visiting. The guest network will have a separate password, so it allows you to share your Wi-Fi without sharing the password to your main household network that everyone uses.
This feature is a perfect way to segment your router and separate your device traffic. Here are the steps to take.
Step 1: Log in to Router Settings
Locate an ethernet cable and connect a computer or laptop to your router using the cable. This will allow you to access the router settings.
In a browser window, type in the IP address for your router. This will typically be located on the outside of the router. You can also find it in your router setup guide.
There will most likely be a username and password that were set up when the router was installed. You’ll need to use those to access your router settings.
Step 2: Set Up a Guest Network
Look for the Guest Network setup option. Go through the steps to set up a new network. You’ll need to give the network a name and password.
Tips for the network name and password:
- Don’t use “Sensitive Devices” for the guest network name!
- Don’t use any personally identifiable info in the name (i.e. router model, your address)
- Use a strong password of at least 10 characters
- Use a password that is a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
Step 3: Change Your Main Network Password
While you are in the router settings, you’ll need to change the password to the main network that you have been using. This will ensure that devices don’t automatically connect to it when they should be connecting to the new network.
Be sure to use the same strong password tips. If your network has personally identifiable information in the name, it’s a good idea to change that now.
Step 4: Check for Router Updates
Updates to your router should be done regularly to ensure it isn’t hacked. Firmware updates include vital security patches. While you’re in the settings, check for updates and apply any that are available.
Step 5: Decide Which Network is for Sensitive Devices
Now, you have two home Wi-Fi networks, both with new passwords. Currently, none of your home devices will have an internet connection.
Decide which network is going to be used for your work PC, and any other computers or mobile devices that contain sensitive data. All other devices should be put on the other network.
Step 6: Connect All Devices to the Appropriate Network
Keep the password to the network for your sensitive devices private, so high-risk devices don’t get connected to it accidentally. Connect all home devices to the appropriate network.
Make sure when you introduce new devices that need an internet connection into your home, they’re connected to the proper network.
Ensure Your Work PC is Secure with a Remote Checkup
Cris’s Tech Repair can do a remote PC checkup to see if your work PC (or any other devices) have the protections they need from viruses, ransomware, and other threats.
Contact us for a security checkup today at 561-985-4961 or through our website.