The Internet gives us access to a vast range of information, entertainment, social networks and almost unlimited services. In fact, from shopping to banking, there’s not much you can’t do online.
While you’re enjoying the many advantages of being connected, there are also steps you can take to help keep you safer online: from setting up a secure Internet connection, securing your devices,protecting against hackers,guarding your privacy and safer online shopping.
If you have children, there are many things you can do to help keep your family safer online. Last but not least, there is a growing awareness of digital wellbeing and the role that healthy digital boundaries can play in our lives.
Protecting your router
Your router is what connects your local WiFi network to the Internet, so it is important to keep it secure.
A few simple security measures will help you control who can access your network, as well as protect it from viruses and other malware, hackers and even identity theft.
Use a strong password and network name
It is important to set a strong password for your router. You can further increase security by changing the network name too. Avoid choosing a name that includes your name, address or other personal information.
Protecting and encrypting data
Check that your router supports a high WiFi Protected Access (WPA) standard – at least WPA2, and ideally WPA3.
If you have an older router with the earlier WPA standard, you can ask your provider to update it.
Encrypting the information you share over the Internet is another good way to protect your personal information. It scrambles your wireless signal so that any information you enter online is protected from unauthorised access. Look for AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)-type encryption where available.
How to set the password and encryption mode
Follow these steps to set the password and encryption mode:
- Refer to the user manual for the website and data you will need to access your router as an administrator.
- Using a web browser, enter these access details and select the option to change the Wi-Fi password.
- In the Wi-Fi network security options, look for the parameters that allow you to enable WPA2-PSK authentication and AES or WPA3 encryption.
- Disable WPS mode.
- For enhanced security, you can also change the password that allows administrator access.
Choose who connects to your network
Your WiFi signal can be picked up beyond the boundaries of your home, so you’ll want to make sure no one else can use it.
The simplest way to do this is to limit your router’s access to certain devices. You will need to know their IP or MAC (Media Access Control) addresses to do this, both of which are unique codes that identify that particular device. Here’s how to find out:
- Android: Access “Settings”, and then select “About Phone” or “About Tablet” (on some newer devices you may first need to select “System” to access the “About” option). Then select “Status” and “Wi-Fi MAC Address”.
- iOS: from “Settings” choose “General”, “Information” and “Wi-Fi Address”.
- Windows: Select the Windows icon to show the search box, and type “Run”. Then, type “cmd” and in the next window type “ipconfig / all”. Finally, look under the heading “physical address.”
- Mac: from “System Preferences” select “Networks” and then “Airport”. Choose the devices that connect to your network.