We continue on the discussion around the whole virus and lockdown, quarantine as more and more services and stores get closed. The more confined we are in and around our homes. Now, as part of that, if you’re like me, your business went into a remote work. If you have, um, the ability to do that, or at some level schools are closed. You have a lot of people now staying in your home for a lot longer duration, and that means using your home internet access and your home network services at a significantly increased level. So this is a good time to go through and lock down your, your network and go through and review your settings and review your updates. Make sure everything is patched in over the next couple of episodes. I’m going to be giving tips on things that you can do and provide resources to help you along.
If you’re not as technical as some others, I would highly encourage that if you are technical and have the security background that you pass this along to everybody that, you know, uh, I always say that to the podcast listeners, because, you know, I want more listeners, but in this case, it is very important that the non-technical, um, get assistance, get some knowledge and get some understandings on, uh, some of the things that they should be doing. Some of the re the, the unwritten responsibilities that you have when you buy, um, home networking component. Yes, it’s very easy to set it up. I plug it into my ISP router. I get the internet. Everything is hunky Dory, but there are things that you should be doing on a maintenance standpoint in these next couple of episodes will help doing that. I have done a video for, um, my company, for my employees for the exact same purpose.
So today I want to talk about your home router. Now, your home wifi router, assuming that it’s a wifi router is your gateway to, and from the internet, everything that you do flows through it, everything that comes in goes through it, and you want to make sure that that is as secure and locked down as possible. Now here’s some high level tips to, um, to go through from your home router standpoint. And if you don’t know, or if you’ve never done anything like this for your steps or for your router, ask for assistance, reach out, send me an email. Um, I may not know the exact menu options. I will provide a link in the show notes that would help you find your operations manual that will have those steps linked down.
But at the end of the day, all these steps will be applicable to the router at a high level. So the first thing that you’re going to want to do is log into the administration council more than likely. And again, I don’t know, it’s might be different depending on the router, but more than likely you open up a web browser and you go to one nine, eight.one, six, eight.one.one, and that will take you to the administrative council of your router. If you’re a tech technologist and you have set all these things up, then ignore it. But at the end of the day, there’s going to be a website that you’re going to go to, to get access to your router. You may also have a mobile app installed, and if you have the mobile app installed, you’re probably more technical and know what you’re doing, but log into the administrative council.
If you’ve never done that before the default password is probably set. The first step that you should do is change that default password or make the password that you have on your router, administrative council stronger, make it strong, write it down, put it into your vault. Um, keep it separate from everything else, but you’re going to want to know and make that change. The next thing that you’re gonna want to do is now’s a good time to not necessarily reset settings per se, but you can reset your wa your wireless network security by resetting the passcode most routers today. And this is a big, big grape that I have is that you don’t have the ability to remove devices that have connected to your wireless. You’ll be able to see connected devices, see if they’re on or not, but you’re unable to clear that out.
So one way to do that, to kick them out and make sure that unknown devices or friends or family or kids, friends that have allowed to connect in the past to come in is to change the password because they’re going to store and cash that information on their devices. When they come back in, they’re going to automatically connect to, that’s not necessarily something that you want going forward. So reset your password, your passcode. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to go and reconnect all your devices in your house to it. It’s a small inconvenience, but it’s a good way to quote unquote, reset your network and only allow the devices on your main network that you want. The second thing that you should do when it comes to the wireless networks. And this goes into the model of the router that you have is up leverage and use the guest network.
Now, there is a difference between the guest network and your primary network. Your primary network is going to have access internally to be able to see and communicate with all the other devices on that main network, your smart TVs, your home PCs, your work laptops, and work equipment printers, all of those types of things. Your guests network is a sandbox it’s designed to be isolated from everything else. And it only allows devices on that guest network to go to go to and from the internet, it can’t see or communicate with other things. And the guest network is powerful, especially if you, if you have kids at home and you’re allowing kids, friends to come over for a short period during this time, and they’re going to want to get on the internet, they’re going to want to play their games and hook up their devices, bring their switches or PS4 or whatever over have gaming and mobile devices, et cetera.
Don’t let them connect to your main network because you don’t know the devices. You don’t know that if they’re infected with anything or anything, that’s going to spread around your network. If that you feel let them connect to your main network, that has the possibility for them to, to be able to see the rest of your network. Use the guest network. Generally those codes are good for 24 hours. They’ll connect to, they put in the password. They can get on the internet and that’s all they can do. That’s the best safest way, especially for guests in this time, you have people coming and going probably, um, or not. I don’t know, but the guest network is going to leverage that the next important setting that you’re going to want to go look for, and this will vary from router to router. Now, this is an important setting.
I’ve talked about it on podcast episodes in the past, and you want to look for something called universal plug and play, or it may be just be listed as the letters, U P N P capital U capital P small N capital P on older model of routers say three years older, older, this setting may be turned on by default. What you want to do is disable that setting effective immediately. Don’t use it, turn it off. Now, if you have it enabled and you have set up like a media server and you know what you’re doing, then ignore my recommendation. If you don’t know what I just talked about, go onto your settings, go through your, go, go through your configurations. And it might be under the media section. It might be under, um, security administration depends on the router. I don’t know the every menu, but you want to make sure that universal plug and play is disabled.
And why is this important? If it’s enabled? What happened was, is that an older routers? The whole idea was that you have an external hard drive connected to your router for, for the central share. And you might have that, but what universal plug and play did because it was poorly implemented is that it opened your router to the internet. That if you had an external hard drive attached to your router, that external hard drive would be fully visible and open to the wide internet. So if you had tax documents, personal photos, videos, movies, pictures, photos, all of your personal documents on a hard drive, attached to a router that had this enabled somebody using a search engine, like show Dan can go out and access that hard drive and all your identity information, personal information going back years. And, um, I use showdown quite a bit for my, for my side security research.
And when I stumbled across these hard drives in there, hundreds and thousands of people who, who, who have sub come to this, I will reach out to them and let them know, Hey, you have the setting, turn it off. And then they’re all thankful. And if I find phone numbers and they, there’s nothing more freaking you out, if a security researcher calls you on your personal cell phone to tell you that you found your tax documents on your home router and they go, well, how did you find my phone number? Well, it’s on your tax document. That’s on an that’s unauthenticated out on the internet. So you need to go turn that off right now. And if you need help, et cetera, et cetera. So anyway, so, so the universal plug and play, and then lastly, just go through and make sure that your firmware is at the latest update, depending on the router.
Most routers today, do not do firmware updates automatically. And this is for a particular reason because the hardware updates are not like your windows patches that can be patched, reboot, and happens. The firmware updates. If they go bad, they can break your system. So it’s a ma it’s most likely a manual process. Um, it might be just a push button, but there might be some other manual steps depending on your router. But you want to make sure that you are running the latest firmware updates, because they’re going to have performance updates, security, patches, and you’re going to be running the latest and greatest version out there. And if you have a really old router, this might be a good time to make an investment and buy a good high-quality router. Yes, you can get a good wireless router for 75, a hundred dollars. I would highly recommend that this piece of equipment in your home, if you can do it, you want to spend North of 250 to $300 to get into the routers that have the speed performance and the security features that you have, especially with a lot of people in your house.
You have a lot of devices in your home. You have a lot of young people in your house, um, blazing through the internet. Share it. Use the comments, start the conversations in the show notes. I have a link to some manual sites. If you don’t know where your manual is, um, for your router to help you go through those types of things, maybe you can find it through there. Otherwise just go to the manufacturer’s website type in your model number, and you’ll be, should be able to find the PDF for your manual there. Be aware, be safe.