CO-016-0407 Understanding how to secure your wireless home router can be tricky, especially for those who really just want to get their router up an running and get online.  There are so many strange abbreviations and the last thing you need is someone getting on your network to steal your bank account password.

Well honestly, it's very easy to get things setup and once you do, you should be completely safe from any unwanted intruders.

How Can I Secure My Home Network?

I would imagine that the thought of setting up a home network is probably quite scary for the average home computer user.

It isn't too difficult though as the companies that sell routers have been listening to their customers and have made the process as simple as possible.

That, however, has had a negative impact on network security.

Remember that large corporations still have major issues when it comes to the security of their networks - hackers still get in and deface websites, steal information, etc, etc.

What chance, then, does the guy in the street stand with his new simplified router, trying to keep the bad guys out of his home network?

Actually, he stands a good chance, as long as he follows some basic rules -

Secure Passwords

My first tip is an obvious one - always use a secure password.

This can be said for everything you do online, from using social networking sites to internet banking to your own router.

When you buy a new router it comes with a password by default.

You should realise, however, that this password is most likely the same for every single router that the company sells - if you don't change it then a hacker will be able to guess it in seconds.

When you set your router up follow the instructions that come with it to change your password immediately.

Choose a password that is hard to guess, such as a long string of random numbers, letters and symbols.

Otherwise you may just find that you no longer control your router and that a hacker does.

Encryption

Once you have a secure password installed you will want to choose the correct type of encryption for your network.

The most common encryption type, and one you may well have heard of, is WPA.

WPA encryption offers a high level of security and has proven difficult for hackers to break through.

It can be got around but doing so isn't easy and so it should deter the casual attacker with ease.

If you have a newer router you can even take a step up and run with the more secure WPAII.

Active Firewall

My third and final tip for today is to ensure that you have activated the router's own firewall.

A firewall is designed to block out intruders who may try to access your home network via the internet.

If you configure your router correctly then it will only allow authorised traffic to access your network.

It would also be a good idea to make sure that you have activated any software firewall that you may have as well in order to enhance your computer's protection.

There are, of course, more steps you can take to secure your network but if you follow the above tips you'll be going a long way towards keeping your home network secure.