Mobile phone with wifi names "you shall no pass-word" and broadbanned

How to protect your Wi-Fi from unwanted guests

John Vinton | Copywriter

Ever noticed that websites are loading more slowly? Or movies keep buffering? It could be that you have an unwanted ‘guest’ on your network.   

How to neighbour-proof your internet 

You might be happy to lend them your lawn mower. Or a cup of sugar. But would you want your neighbours using your Wi-Fi? The trouble is, they might already be doing it. With the price of everything going up, people are looking to save money wherever they can. And that includes ‘borrowing’ someone else’s broadband. 

Love thy neighbour’s internet 

A recent survey by ExpressVPN showed that 13% of Brits caught a neighbour trying to connect without permission. And last year alone, more than four million people hacked next door’s Wi-Fi.   

Spotting an unwanted ‘guest’ 

Ever noticed that websites are loading more slowly? Or movies keep buffering? Now it could be that you simply need to switch to Cuckoo full fibre broadband. Or it could be that you have an unwanted ‘guest’ on your network. And if a neighbour has hijacked your Wi-Fi, it won’t only affect your internet speed, it could also put your security at risk.   

WFH? Always use password protection 

Unbelievably, 44% of UK homeworkers don’t bother to password protect their Wi-Fi. Which makes it much easier for others to sneak onto. And because your router is directly linked to your identity, it means everything that happens on your network is your responsibility. So if your neighbour’s downloading anything dodgy, it’s you who’ll get the blame. 

Also, if they accidently download malware, it can infect all your connected devices which might lead to data theft. Worse still, if you work from home, your employer’s security can be compromised too. 

Keep an eye on your router 

Even if you haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary, it’s a good idea to check what’s connected to your Wi-Fi now and again. Because unless somebody’s downloading large amounts of data, it can be hard to spot. Luckily, all you have to do is log into your router and check. 

Make sure your Wi-Fi stays yours 

  • Change your password regularly and use special characters to make it strong. And change your router’s user name. 66% of people don’t bother and the default is easy to guess 
  • Hide your Wi-Fi name (Service Set Identifier - SSID) so it isn’t visible 
  • Choose a next gen router with the latest security. 
  • If possible, always set the security protocol to WPA 3 
  • Update your router’s software every so often to keep it secure. 79% of people have never even thought about it 
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic for better security and privacy. This also protects all your devices. 

Access some areas 

Of course, if you do want to let your neighbours or guests (or even your kids) use your Wi-Fi safely, most routers make it easy to create a guest Wi-Fi. It’s a good solution that gives the user basic access to the internet but not the rest of your files and devices. They can’t download software and can only get online at certain times of the day. 

To find out more about staying safe online, check out our handy guide   

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