Tuesday, May 19th, 2020 by Gina Thompson
Is your home network secure? With the wealth of personal information stored on our computers and other connected devices, it’s important to find out! When it comes to checking the security of your home network, your modem or WiFi router should be your first point of focus. After all, it handles all the data going in and out of your broadband connection, so it’s vital that its settings are in ship-shape.
To help protect your network, we’ve put together a list of the settings you should check whenever you get a new modem or WiFi router up and running.
Protect your modem settings
In order to access your modem/router settings in the first place, you’ll need to log in to your modem’s default gateway address with its admin password (and sometimes, a username, too). The default login credentials are always found on the modem’s barcode sticker, such as the example below. However, if you know a thing or two about password strength, you’ll know that the common default passwords (e.g. “admin” or “password”) aren’t very strong at all. Not to mention that if the admin password is the same as the one printed on the barcode sticker, guests, housemates or children could easily access and change your router settings.
It’s best to change the password to a stronger option that you’ll be able to remember. If you have an Internode modem, you’ll find instructions on how to access the modem settings in its setup guide, available here. The admin password is typically covered as a step in the Setup Wizard, or you’ll find the option in the menu labelled “Management”. “administration” or similar.
Note: If you use a feature known as Remote Administration, it’s VERY important that you have a strong password in place!
Remote Admin: ditch it if you don’t need it
Speaking of Remote Admin, it’s important to switch it off if you don’t absolutely need it. This feature allows users to access your modem settings from a remote location. While it’s useful for some tech-savvy individuals, most of us don’t need the function. Insecure Remote Admin settings have been the subject of a number of security scares over the years.
All modems supplied by us have Remote Administration disabled by default. If you have a third party router and you’re not sure if this feature is enabled, please visit the manufacturer’s website for support information.
Set up your WiFi right
So, how else can you prevent unwanted access to your home network? Your wireless network, or WiFi, is a common target, especially in areas with a denser population. No matter where you’re located, your WiFi network should always have a password to connect, and using a stronger encryption method such as WPA2 will give you better protection.
Most WiFi routers come with a default network ready to go right out of the box. Fortunately, they’re set up with a password, but much like the default admin password, the default WiFi password is printed on the modem’s barcode sticker, making it accessible to guests, housemates and children. While connected to your WiFi network, users can’t just use your broadband data: they can also access other devices connected to your home network, such as printers or storage drives, and potentially even log in to your router settings.
You can customise your WiFi network with a strong, unique password that you can share with trusted individuals. You’ll find instructions on how to do this for all modems sold by us in their Quick Setup Guides or User Manuals here. If you have a third party router, please visit the manufacturer’s website for support information.
Keep your modem up to date
You’re probably familiar with software updates, but what about “firmware”? Firmware is a special type of software that’s programmed into a device’s read-only memory. It gives the device everything it needs to operate, such as telling your modem’s how to run your broadband service. That includes security protocols, so it’s good to make sure your modem has the latest firmware.
If you’ve got a modem supplied by us, you’re in luck: our current range of modems update their firmware automatically, so you don’t need to do a thing to make sure it’s on the latest version. However, if you use a third party modem, you should visit the manufacturer’s website to see if any firmware updates are available, particularly if you’re using an older model.
Stay safe, everyone!