As most of us are aware, home network security is extremely important. If your Wi-Fi network is not properly secured, it leaves you vulnerable to a variety of security threats. Determined hackers can use your Internet service for free, introduce malware onto your devices, and steal your personal data. It’s even possible for a hacker to hijack your Wi-Fi router and use it, along with thousands of other hacked routers, to launch a large-scale cyberattack on a company, government agency or other organization.
Fortunately, these threats can usually be addressed with some simple measures, like using the right type of Wi-Fi security (the WPA2 security protocol), setting a strong Wi-Fi password and changing it every few months.
Your house guests may pose a threat to your home network
But there is another type of threat to your home network you may not be aware of: your house guests. If your network is not set up correctly, visitors who access your Wi-Fi network pose a potential security risk to your devices and data.
Here’s how. Let’s say that you have two laptops, four smart phones and a tablet in your home, any of which could be connected to your Wi-Fi network at any given time. Let’s say you also have several smart home devices connected to Wi-Fi, and you have a portable USB hard drive plugged into your Wi-Fi router to share files with other family members. Whenever a guest logs into your primary Wi-Fi network, they will also have access to every one of these devices. While it’s unlikely any of your friends would intentionally sabotage your network, there’s a chance that the device they are using to connect to your network is infected with some sort of malware. If so, there’s a possibility that this malware could be spread to other devices connected to your network.
Why you need a guest Wi-Fi network
Fortunately, there’s a simple way to address this particular threat. Most Wi-Fi routers give you the ability to create what’s called a “guest Wi-Fi” network. Unlike your regular Wi-Fi network that you and your family members use, the guest Wi-Fi network restricts what your guests can do in your network. Specifically, it gives visitors access to your Internet connection and nothing else. They can’t see any of your devices on the network and they don’t have the ability to access them. Most importantly, they can’t accidentally introduce malware or compromise your devices or data in any other way.
How does a guest Wi-Fi network work?
Here’s how a guest Wi-Fi network works. Anyone looking to connect to your Wi-Fi will see your primary Wi-Fi network name as well as your guest network name. For example, if your primary network is called “MyWiFi” your guest network might be called “MyWiFi-guest”. Each of these networks has a separate strong password: one you share with guests and the other that you only share with family members. When a guest asks you for your Wi-Fi password, you simply give them the guest Wi-Fi password and ask them to connect to “MyWiFi-guest”. Once they’re connected, they can use the Internet and you don’t have to worry about any security threats.
How to set up a guest Wi-Fi network
MiHome managed Wi-Fi from PMT makes setting up and managing your guest network a breeze through the simple to use NetValet app. In addition, MiHome provides whole-home Wi-Fi coverage, with no dead zones, and comes with many features, such as parental controls, and letting you prioritize what devices can access your Wi-Fi and when. For more information on MiHome visit www.bb.pmt.org/
For off-the-shelf routers, follow the instructions provided by your router manufacturer to create and set up the guest Wi-Fi network.
Share your guest password with your visitors
Once your guest network is setup, keep a record of your guest Wi-Fi password and make sure it’s the password you share with visitors to your home, rather than your primary Wi-Fi password. And don’t forget to change your guest Wi-Fi passwords every few months.
For more information about guest networks, contact a PMT representative.