You don’t let just anyone walk through your front door. So why let just anyone access your wireless network? Securing your wireless network is the virtual equivalent of locking the door—you give authorized users easy access and prevent unwanted guests.
Fortunately, it’s simple to implement wireless network security measures and protect your online activities.
Secure Your Wireless Routers
Change the basic password settings on your wireless router.
Most wireless routers come with a default password and network name. Change these settings to a secure password known to only you and other members of your household.
Turn off identifier broadcasting.
Wireless networks advertise their presence by sending out a signal to any Wi-Fi-enabled device within range. If you don’t want everyone to know you have a wireless system, you can turn off this feature. Check the installation directions that came with your Wi-Fi-enabled device for specific directions on how to turn off your identifier. You can also contact the customer service department of your Internet service provider (ISP) and tell them you want to “turn off identifier broadcasting”. Authorized users will still be able to use the system, but unauthorized signal interceptors shouldn’t be able to find your network.
Turn on encryption.
Almost all wireless routers have Wi-Fi encryption, which converts transmissions over your network into a code to prevent unauthorized access. However, some routers require you to manually turn on encryption. Once again, the installation directions should explain how to do this.
Secure Your Devices
Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
Viruses are computer programs designed to make your computer do something it wasn’t intended to do, like erase your files, for example. Spyware “spies” on you by monitoring the sites you visit and may attempt to access your personal information. Needless to say, these are definitely unwanted guests.
Your computer may have came with anti-virus and anti-spyware programs already installed, sometimes offered on a trial basis. If not, or if you just want to beef up your protection, there are several good programs available for purchase. You may even have a program included with your internet service, so contact your ISP for information.
Once you have these programs installed, be sure to keep them up-to-date. Most will have an auto-update feature that lets you download updates when you’re online. Although it may seem convenient to click “remind me later,” it’s better just to spend a few minutes keeping your security software running at its best.
Firewalls screen data coming in and out of computer networks, blocking unauthorized access and stopping traffic from unsafe internet sources. Your computer’s operating system likely came with a built-in firewall that you can turn on and off. Turn it on and leave it on unless you have installed separate firewall software.
We’re always thinking about the security of our customers. Let us know if you found this post helpful in the comments below! You can learn more about Ally’s approach to security in our Security Center.
Comment on this article
Keith J. on December 15, 2017 at 3:04pm
I want to see how it work
Bruce K. on December 15, 2017 at 5:04pm
I was not raised on computers so there is some of the stuff you are talking about I don't know what your even talking about some of it I know you got to have and even with all that you are still vulnerable so you got to learn what not to open if you don't recognize it don't open it so on that note I believe in Norton Security and wouldn't be with out it and I also have their WIFI Security
Ivan G. on December 15, 2017 at 9:50pm
Terrence S. on December 17, 2017 at 10:44am
Adrian G. on December 18, 2017 at 11:30am
Turning off "identifier broadcasting" doesn't provide any additional security at all. Anyone with access to basic "scanning" and "sniffing" tools can find your network and capture traffic "from the air" to figure out the identifier, even when hidden. The only thing you need to do to secure your network is configure it to use encryption (WPA2) with a strong password.
Ally on December 18, 2017 at 11:36am
We're glad to hear that, Terrence! Thanks for reading.
Ally on December 18, 2017 at 11:55am
Thanks for reading, Ivan!
Martin K. on December 18, 2017 at 3:18pm
Your advice is sound - especially if you are not using Apple devices, including Macs. I have been an Apple advocate since 2001 having switched from being a Windows user since its first beta release in the early 1980s. Unlike my Windows PCs, I have never had an "infections" in my Apple devices. I tend to agree with the notion of disabling broadcasting a WiFi's SSID. But, recent studies have should that a persistent and competent hacker will "see" the SSID. It is important to have enabled the WPA2 security and have a strong passphrase in addition to a network firewall.
Eddie C. on December 18, 2017 at 3:36pm
Perfect reminder, sometimes we forget. Don't let me forget Ally.
Nick D. on December 18, 2017 at 4:13pm
Finally information I can use! Good thinking.
Gerald R. on December 18, 2017 at 4:56pm
Patricia D. on December 18, 2017 at 7:55pm
Don't l. on December 18, 2017 at 8:04pm
I turned off identifier broadcasting, but then I couldn't connect my Android phone to my WiFi router. It has to see it to connect. It is not capable of remembering the SSID like a real computer can. I was able to get a "Hidden SSID" Android app to fix this. But then I got an iPhone, and there is no such equivalent. If you want to connect an iPhone to your WiFi router, you MUST leave your identifier broadcasting turned on. I don't like iPhones for this reason.
Richard G. on December 19, 2017 at 3:08am
It seems overwhelming when there is so much to cover to get started. I admit to not reading as much as I should but this is pretty extreme. I spend most of my day on computer writing inspection documents for the equipment my company manufactures. So one would think I was conditioned for such.... Maybe it's burn out???
Ana A. on December 19, 2017 at 8:04am
Ally on December 19, 2017 at 10:00am
Thanks for reading, Patricia!
Ally on December 19, 2017 at 10:05am
We're glad you found the article useful, Nick! Thanks for the feedback.
Ally on December 19, 2017 at 10:13am
Hi Eddie, we'll try not to!
Ally on December 19, 2017 at 10:14am
Thanks for sharing, Martin!
Ruth B. on December 19, 2017 at 11:00am
It was a helpful information. Thank you
Ally on December 19, 2017 at 1:56pm
Thanks for reading, Ruth! We're happy to hear you found the tips to be helpful.
Monica on December 20, 2017 at 11:45am
Can some assist me with finding a anti spyware or some type of security for my iphone please.
Rob M. on December 23, 2017 at 1:54pm
Hi I would like to set up two forms of authentication for when I log in ion line. I’d like to get a phone text with a code. Can you do that?
Paul S. on December 24, 2017 at 9:32pm
Thank you, it’s very informative.
Keith on December 25, 2017 at 7:17pm
It is even better to let the see your broadcast name and better so if you give it your pet name or one unimportant name as to name it a bank name or a small business name. That way you may not be a target to bad guys. WPA2 passphrase must be strong. Like make it 10 to 15 characters, including capital and small letters, special characters such as ! $ ~_ and do on. Change passphases every three month or so. You can use this same password but change two of the special characters to new different characters . Eg i2Bankw!thAlly} Next three months you can change to Ally!sMy1st$bank
Ally on January 3, 2018 at 10:44am
Hi Rob, we do offer multi-factor authentication options for most accounts. Please give us a call at 1-877-247-ALLY (2559), or chat with us at ally.com to learn more.
Ally on January 3, 2018 at 10:45am
You're welcome, Paul. Thanks for reading!
Ally on January 3, 2018 at 11:23am
Thanks for sharing your tips, Keith!
Judy on January 4, 2018 at 2:28pm
I've been your customer for over 2 years. Very surprised and Happy to find such helpful and useful information on your website! I have never taken the time to read ANYTHING on your site. You just take my payment for my over priced impulse purchase of a Tiffin. My husband and I got high pressured at an RV Show after working in 106 degree heat for 6 hours. It's the one time I wished we didn't have such great credit. We have come to love our 2nd home on wheels, but it was an ouch when I saw Ally email every month about payment. But today I see Ally in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LIGHT!! Such helpful ideas to keep us safe from internet trolls and hackers. I have all ready used some but others I will start using ASAP. Thank you Ally for being so customer oriented and concerned about Our safety in this new (to me) age of the internet. I will now be reading at least monthly but probably weekly. Again from a Happy Customer Thank You for going the EXTRA MILE. Judy I
Ally on January 12, 2018 at 1:05pm
Thanks for sharing the kind words, Judy! We're so happy to hear that you enjoyed the articles and we're thrilled to be your financial ally.
Marla C. on August 4, 2021 at 1:54pm
Very informative- thank you!