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Blog Articles, Sonar

How to Secure Your Home Network From Intruders

Jun 2, 2021
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With the current digital transformation, today’s households feature a wide range of internet-connected devices and gadgets, making it feel like the Internet is an essential necessity for existence today. There is an increased reliance on networks to connect different devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, fitness trackers, smart televisions, doorbells, light bulbs, home security systems, and thermostats. However, this trend lays the first stone to numerous security risks. In the same way we would never leave the front door to a house open, we should keep the home network secure from intruders.

You need to control who connects to your network and prevent people outside your home network from picking up a signal from your router.

Read along to discover essential steps and best practices to improve your home network security posture.


Tips to Secure Your Home Network

We have compiled a list of 12 simple changes along with best practices you can follow to secure your home network from intruders:

  1. Change default passwords and SSIDS:

The primary step towards securing your home network is to change default passwords to prevent unauthorized users within the home network range from connecting, sniffing the traffic, or changing the network settings.

SSIDs revealing details such as your name or house number give an intruder a better chance of breaking into your network. It would be prudent to modify the SSID to something different from personal information. Changing the router’s credentials is a straightforward process done by accessing the device console from any devices connected to the network.

Apart from changing the default credentials, it would be best to change the SSID and passwords frequently. There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should do this, but it is a good practice to change the details regularly.

  1. Strong Passwords

As mentioned above, vendors distribute wireless routers with a pre-set default password that you need to change as the first step towards a safer home network.

In fact, hackers can easily guess the default password if they know your router’s manufacturer. This risk necessitates creating a new complex password with a mix of character types, such as at least one digit, an uppercase and lowercase letter, and a symbol, as recommended by the NIST Special Publication 800-63B – Digital Identity Guidelines.

  1. Limit access to the Wi-Fi password:

It also helps to limit access to the Wi-Fi password. Although it seems impartial to share your network access credentials with relatives, children, and friends, never feel obliged to share the password with everyone within the home network range. For instance, a visiting salesman, plumber, a gardener, or an electrician is a stranger, and you might never know beforehand what their intentions are, so you cannot trust them.

  1. Set guest networks

If your modern Wi-Fi router includes an option for setting up a guest network with a unique SSID and password, you can use this option to allow guests to connect their devices without sharing the primary network credentials.

  1. Enable network encryption:

    Turn on your wireless router encryption. This measure ensures that the data leaving your network is encrypted, and hackers cannot make sense of it. The good thing is that almost all wireless routers have an encryption feature with reliable protocols and encryption options such as WPA2 security.
  2. Access secure sites:

    Ensure you visit encrypted sites only while browsing. As a Tech Crunch article states, HTTPS should always be your friend. HTTPS secures the connection between your device and the site you are visiting, making it almost impossible for someone to spy on your internet traffic. You can identify HTTPS-enabled sites by spotting a padlock icon in the address bar.
  3. Keep the network devices' software updated:

    Network router’s firmware may contain bugs that can become significant exploitable vulnerabilities. Always install the latest updates and security patches on the system to seal security holes that online predators exploit. Fortunately, some router vendors update the firmware on your gateway automatically. In other instances, they offer the software update option on the router console.
  4. Install a firewall:

    You should install a firewall to prevent harmful intrusions from hackers. Most frequently, wireless routers contain built-in firewall capabilities that you should turn on to detect and respond to malicious access attempts on your wireless network. You can browse through the router console settings to see if your vendor offers a firewall solution. Some network devices operate a network address translation (NAT) system that prevents outsiders from identifying the addresses of individual devices on the network and can block unsolicited traffic before it reaches end-user devices.
  5. Use a VPN:

    Protecting your network devices with a virtual private network (VPN) before connecting to the Internet is an essential security measure to encrypt communications and hide your identity. All the same, you should exercise caution while selecting a VPN for your connection. Some VPN providers generate revenues by selling your data or serve you ads, while some are just downright dubious.
  6. Assess the web plugins:

    Web plugins, including the popular Java and Flash, have long been disparaged for their perpetual state of insecurity. Users unknowingly download, install, and use plugins full of bugs and vulnerabilities that plagued the web for years. A good omen, Flash set to sunset in 2020. If you don’t use any of the installed web plugin, there is merit in removing them to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks.
  7. Network scanning and monitoring:

    Scan your wireless network to detect and respond to intrusion attempts and rogue devices that hackers set up in span mode to exfiltrate sensitive information. Network scanners reveal the presence of sniffers in your home Wi-Fi.
  8. Turn off network name broadcasting:

It is highly recommended that you disable network name broadcasting to the public when using a wireless network router at home. Network name broadcasting is primarily helpful for businesses, institutions, hotels, libraries, and other public networks that offer wireless internet access to customers. Blocking your router from sending out its identifier creates a hidden network that only allows devices with connection data to connect and hides the SSID from passers-by.


Take Control of Your Network with Sonar

Do you know who is connecting to your wireless network?

You can take complete control and secure your home network from intruders using the Sonar subscription service that identifies and alerts you to threats on your wireless network.

Some of the capabilities you get with Sonar solution from Pulsar Security include:

  1. Identify:

    Sonar offers continuous 24/7/365 monitoring, presenting an aggregated, unified view of your home wireless network. What’s more, the Sonar subscription service outperforms traditional wireless assessments at a fraction of the cost.

  1. Detect

Sonar solution detects devices within range of the wireless network and tracks the type of device as well as the MAC address to provide a device fingerprint for correlating a device to an IP address

  1. Alert

    You can effectively detect malicious threats to your Wi-Fi network, including rogue and fake access points, device spoofing, and denial of service attacks. Besides, Sonar detects and alerts the presence of new open networks in your range and devices that have connected to that network.

  1. Fix

Pulsar Security offers technical phone and email support, consultative services, and personalized recommendations. The technical team holds advanced cybersecurity certifications. The experts leverage experience and proprietary tools to protect your network against malicious attacks.


Other benefits of deploying Sonar subscription service include:

  • Continuous network assessments
  • No setup, labor, or resource costs
  • Proactive threat detection
  • Near real-time device vulnerabilities and access point traffic analysis
  • Easy and flexible deployment
  • Sonar does not affect network performance
  • Baseline and monthly data reports with recommendations for remediation of malicious activities and vulnerabilities

Is Sonar a good fit for your home network? Learn more here

Book a free risk assessment and talk to one of our technical engineers today

Tim Connell

Tim Connell

As Head of Enterprise Products for Pulsar Security, he guides the team in creating solutions which satisfy the needs of real-world customers, specializing in the areas of data management, storage network visibility, and enterprise security. Tim holds technical certifications as an Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), GIAC Web App Penetration Tester (GWAPT), and GIAC Python Coder (GPYC).