Personal Resource Center

8 Ways to Secure Your Home Network


1. Set Strong Passwords for Your Computer and Wireless Internet Router

One of the issues CISA raises is that some routers come present with default passwords, many of which are readily available on the internet or may even be physically labeled on the device itself. Instead, follow these guidelines: Set a unique, strong password for your router and each device connected to it — and change them regularly. A password manager can be a helpful way to maintain them all, but be sure to choose a reputable password manager, and consider keeping the passwords to your financial accounts off of the manager.


2. Update Your Operating System and Browsers - Continually

It may seem like a drag to get those alerts to update the software on your mobile devices, computers, and browsers so frequently, but those updates are designed to help protect you. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to hack networks and devices, and software updates help keep you one step ahead of them.


3. Re-Configure Your Router Settings

Many routers come with default settings intended to make setup easy, but those settings can also make hacking into them easier. To secure your home network, update the following settings:3

  • Select the highest security setting option your router allows. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, users should choose WPA2 if that's available to them; if not, go for WPA. Both of these options are more secure than the standard WEP.
  • Change your network name to something unique that does not reveal your location or identity.
  • Create a separate guest network (especially if you frequently have visitors). This not only provides a secure connection for guests but is also beneficial for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart appliances and web-enabled cameras, which often have different security vulnerabilities.


4. Install Antivirus Software on Your Computer

Your computer and browser's software updates are important, but they can't do everything. Updated antivirus software can automatically detect, quarantine and remove various types of malware, such as viruses, worms and ransomware. That level of security, combined with updated operating software, helps keep your data extra secure.


5. Install Firewalls on Your Network and Devices

A firewall is like a barrier around your network or device. While antivirus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall watches attempts to access your system and and can block suspicious activity.3

Some routers and operating systems come with firewalls, but it's essential to ensure your device's pre-installed firewall is activated for optimal protection.


6. Turn Your Wi-Fi Off When Possible

The less often your wireless network is on, the less vulnerable it will be. This could mean turning it off at night, while away on vacation, or even when working from a desk with access to an ethernet cable. Ethernet connections are generally more secure than wireless networks,4 but anti-virus software, awareness of phishing attempts and other precautions are still necessary.


7. Back Up Your Data Regularly

In addition to protecting your network from a cyberattack, it's smart to be prepared in the event that it happens anyway. Back up your data on a regular basis. That could be weekly, daily, or even more frequently, depending on the complexity of your work and the value of new data that could be lost at any point. Both external hard drives and cloud backup options are available, and some people choose to rely on both.

Not only will having all your data at your fingertips be a relief if you experience a home network breach, but you'll also be grateful for backups if your laptop has a run-in with your morning coffee — a hazard work-from-home veterans know well.


8. Beware of Phishing Attempts

Your home network is only as secure as the devices connected to it — and cybercriminals think up all kinds of ways to gain access to your devices. Among the most common is phishing, which is when hackers use clever emails to trick users into giving out personal information or access to their devices.

These fraudulent emails can look official, so use these steps to avoid a phishing attack:

  • Never open a file or other attachment from an unknown or untrusted sender.
  • Do not click on links in emails from an unknown or untrusted sender.
  • Never reply to an email requesting personal information. If the sender claims to be an official source, like a bank or government entity, locate the official customer service phone number for the organization independently, and call to verify the request.

Be especially careful with unexpected files, attachments, or requests for information coming from a colleague or someone at a company your company does business with. If you aren't expecting the file or request, and the context isn't highly specific, a quick phone call can help you confirm that it's legit.

Increased phishing attempts often coincide with major events like natural disasters, epidemics and health scares, economic concerns, political elections, and holidays, so be extra cautious during those times.5

Enroll in Credit and Identity Protection Services

As a Synovus Plus, Synovus Inspire, or Synovus Private Wealth customer, you can enroll in complimentary Credit and Identity Protection services. With this service, Synovus will monitor your credit reports and notify you any time any changes are made. Synovus will also scan the web to make sure your personal information hasn't been compromised by checking websites, blogs and peer-to-peer networks. Synovus also offers full-service identity restoration if you become a victim of identity theft.

Want to know more about how you can achieve peace of mind as a Synovus customer? Learn more.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, "Home Network Security," February 1, 2021. Accessed March 27, 2024. Back
  2. Security Affairs, "Hundreds of Vulnerabilities in Common Wi-Fi Routers Affect Millions of Users," December 05, 2021. Accessed March 27, 2024. Back
  3. National Cybersecurity Alliance, "Securing Your Home Network," December 20, 2022. Accessed March 27, 2024. Back
  4. Spectrum Enterprise, "What is the difference between a WiFi and Ethernet connection?" accessed March 27, 2024. Back
  5. Federal Communications Commission. "After Storms, Watch Out for Scams," updated December 16, 2022. Accessed March 27, 2024. Back