Do you know who is on your WiFi Network?


You depend on your home network for so many things like purchasing your Halloween costume online, or finding a ghoulish recipe for your office Halloween party. Your Internet is slowing down, but you may not even realize an unwanted entity is there.

Among the things that go bump in the night, data “vampires” can leech off your home network without your even knowing. These uninvited guests not only use your Wi-Fi, they may also tap into your private information through your network.



Secure Your Network

One first step to securing your home network is to have a network password. This acts as a bouncer, turning away unwelcome guests who aren’t authorized to use your home network. It’s amazing how many people don’t secure their network with passwords, or use ones that are easily hackable, like ‘admin’ or ‘1234’.

For added security, set up a separate guest password as well that you share with visitors, and that you can easily change from time to time without disrupting your home’s primary network password.



Identify Data “Vampires”

How do you know when your WiFi is being used by someone outside of your home? A telltale sign used to be when your Internet speeds became noticeably slower. Now with all of the smart home devices, gaming consoles, computers, tablets, and phones on the home network, this isn’t exactly an efficient way of telling that someone is freeloading on your network.

And hacking your WiFi isn’t the only creepy Internet safety issue. These days bad people are finding all sorts of ways to cause harm using the Internet. Just surfing the web can be dangerous. Harmful web pages, spyware, phishing, unprotected IoT devices and more are in the news constantly. Thankfully some WiFi management and security tools, like Actiontec’s Optim, are available to help people safeguard homes and families from many of these cyber security threats.



What is Managed Wi-Fi

Managed WiFi can mean different things. Typically it includes some sort of user interface or dashboard that allows a head of the household to know who is on their network. It also allows them to determine whether those devices may in fact access the Internet. A managed WiFi service, like Actiontec’s Optim, allows you to create user profiles (like “mom”, “dad”, “Izzy” or “Nicolas”) and then assign devices to the individual profiles. Izzy’s profile may include her smartphone and an iPad. Nicolas’s profile has his gaming console and a laptop.

Parents love managed WiFi because they not only see which devices are connected to the Internet, they can also control the devices. If a device shows up on your dashboard that you don’t recognize, you can simply block it from having access to your network. With parental controls you can allow Nicolas to play games on the Internet only when he’s done with his homework.

Some managed WiFi services include added security components that actively safeguard the network by protecting users and devices from malicious web pages. They monitor outbound traffic and can block users from accessing websites that infect devices with a Trojan or virus, as well as fake websites that try to steal financial information.

To summarize, a good managed WiFi service can secure a family’s online experience in the following ways:

  1. Use a dashboard. Create a profile for each family member and their individual devices so you can easily see and then manage these devices on your home network.
  2. Block unknown devices. If you feel the hair on the back of your neck standing up and suspect a data vampire is using your network, you can select and block or disconnect the unknown device. This will also protect your data from potential privacy invasions.
  3. Use parental controls. Select a profile or device on the network to monitor or pause access at certain times of day.
  4. Use added security components. These protect users by blocking devices from accessing known dangerous websites.

Whether you’re dealing with a data vampire or just becoming more aware of your home networks’ security needs, managed WiFi acts as the crystal ball for your connected home, no magic spells required.

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