Share your Wi-Fi without sharing your password

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Written by a NortonLifeLock employee


“Don’t share your password” is the new “Don’t talk to strangers.” Yet when we have visitors at home, one of the first things we do is share our Wi-Fi password with them.

“Don’t share your password” is the new “Don’t talk to strangers.” Yet when we have visitors at home, one of the first things we do is share our Wi-Fi password with them.

When you open your home to your guests it is expected that you’ll open your network to them as well. Refusing to part with your Wi-Fi password when guests visit is very inhospitable. However, even the most well-intended guest walks in with the potential of bringing in viruses and malware with their devices and damaging the network you worked so hard to secure.

The security of your home Wi-Fi connection is serious cause for concern. With the recent proliferation of IoT devices, the home network is bombarded with all kinds of malware and viruses that piggyback on seemingly harmless devices like fitness trackers and garage door openers. In a recent survey, it was revealed that 7 in 10 consumers wish their home network were more secure. Yet, only 27% believe their home network will be compromised.1

Wise Wi-Fi ways

Whether it’s your social media addicted niece, your Airbnb guest or the handyman you hired to fix a door, they all want access to your Wi-Fi password upon entry. Luckily, these days most routers come with a guest network built in.

A guest network has the advantage of having its own password. You can set up an easy to remember yet hard to hack password dedicated to this network. It will save you the trouble of looking up your complex home network password. Besides, no one outside your immediate circle of family and friends should know your home network password.

This network will appear as a different SSID and will operate isolated from the rest of your devices. The guest will not be able to see or use your Internet-connected devices through this network. All your NAS drives, your laptops, thermostats and perhaps even your IoT enabled safe are sequestered from this network.

Hosting while away from home

When you leave your home to visitors, there are a few best practices to follow to make sure your network is in safe hands. Before offering your Wi-Fi passphrase make sure your guest understands that uploading or downloading unlawful content is absolutely unacceptable.

Here are a few guidelines to follow before you leave your home in the hands of guests.

1. Make sure your router has an encrypted guest network.

2. Create strong, time-sensitive passwords that can be extended upon request or will simply disappear after the guest leaves.

3. Keep your router updated with the latest security updates and patches.

4. Keep your router locked in a safe place so that guests don’t tamper with it.

It’s all in the router

The router is the “front door” to your home network. If you are using a router that came with the Internet service provider make sure it uses the highest level of encryption available. Ideally, this means WPA2 and AES encryption whenever possible, even on the guest network.

In most homes, devices can see and talk to all other devices on the home network as well as the Internet. Besides the security risk, bringing a guest into this network can overload the system and bring the network to a crawl.

To mitigate infection, each device should be placed in its own subnet and configured into traffic segregation domains. This allows low-risk devices to mingle freely with one another while keeping high-risk devices, like mobile phones, segregated.

Also, having a router that allows bandwidth regulation will make sure your nephew’s gaming doesn’t slow down the presentation you are broadcasting to your bosses and peers around the globe.

Cyber threats have evolved, and so have we.

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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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