Guest Wi-Fi — Password protect your home

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

In this article, we are going to talk about four reasons why you should have a guest password for your Wi-Fi.

Your home network should be a very private thing. All of your devices are connected to this network which means that your personal information transmits through this network. Because of this, you should always know what devices are on your network and who is accessing your network. When people come over to your house and they want to join your private Wi-Fi network, I would recommend that instead of giving them full access to your network, you give them access to a guest network. Most modern routers have this feature built in and and allows you to separate your personal devices from those of visitors. Some routers will even allow you turn your guest networks on and off by simply asking Alexa to enable the guest network.

At this point you might be thinking, what’s the big deal if I have others join my home network. Let me run you through some of the most common scenarios that typically happen. I’ll start with the most riskiest. If you have complete strangers come to your house asking to join your network, this should be an immediate red flag. These people can be folks from a utility company, a contractor working on your house, etc. These folks should not, under circumstance gain access to your private home network. Some of the risks include them setting up a man in the middle attack where they can see your personal and private data. They might be able to access your shared network drives and printers which again contain your personal data. They could also introduce malicious attacks/malware that can compromise the other computers in your network. As you can see, giving someone you don’t know access to your network, while not always dangerous, can have some serious consequences if the wrong person gains access.

Next up are friends and family. The same risks from the previous example still apply with the exception that you actually know the people you are granting access to. Even though you know them, you still shouldn’t just hand out network access. All of the same attacks and vulnerabilities still apply with friends and family. If they want to do harm to you, having access to your personal home network is an easy way to get started. Sometimes, we like to let our guard down when we are with those we love and trust. But sometimes, that love and trust becomes our biggest vulnerability. I’m not saying you need to stop loving your friends and family, but why not exercise every precaution to keep your data safe. Enable that guest network and let them connect to that network. The peace of mind is worth it in my opinion.

When someone access your network, they can then see other devices and data on that network. Network shared hard drives are starting to become a common thing in home networks. As we create more and more data, our devices overfill and all that data goes on to a network drive. These network drives can then easily be accessed by devices on your network. This is common with media servers that are usually used to store and stream videos and photos. When you allow someone outside your home to access your Wi-Fi, you are potentially allowing these folks to also access your files. If this is not your intention, letting them connect to a guest Wi-Fi can easily remediate this problem. Adding layers of security to your shared network services can also help remediate.

And finally, when you invite someone to your network, they can access your devices that are also on that network. They could perform port scans, look for vulnerabilities, and in some cases infect your devices/network. I know that the odds of this happening is low, but why expose yourself to it. Setting up a guest network is a built in feature in almost all modern routers. It’s super simple to set up, and you keep you and your data safe and secure. You don’t have to share your personal password to gain access. You add a nice layer of protection and your guests can still enjoy have a fast internet connection.

I’m an engineer working professionally in San Diego, CA. I’m trying to improve every day and use this space to document. Connect:

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