Security Tip: Are You Making This Big WiFi Mistake?

You pay good money for your internet service, so I understand the frustration of a slow connection. Short story: It’s not always your ISP’s fault. Here are common WiFi errors.

entertain guests? You’ll want access to your WiFi, but it’s a hassle repeatedly giving out your login. Make yourself technically smart. Publish a QR code in your home that automatically logs guests into your home network.

If now a hacker If they get into your home network, they can find their way to your personal data. Should You Set Your Home Wi-Fi Network to Public or Private? The answer might surprise you.

A woman walks past a WiFi-enabled payphone in New York July 12, 2012.

A woman walks past a WiFi-enabled payphone in New York July 12, 2012.
(Reuters/Keith Bedford)

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It’s not what you think

Setting your home Wi-Fi network to private would be the safest setting right? That’s actually wrong. But don’t let the sloppy terminology confuse you.

If you are on your home network and have it configured as private on your computer, your PC will not be discoverable by other devices connected to the same network. In this case the public WLAN setting safer than the private one. Yes, you read it right!

If you want to share files or send documents to a family member in your home over the same network or your home printer, you must set your network to private.

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When the network is set to private, your printer will recognize your computer and connect to receive the documents to be printed. Clear as mud, right?

Find your iPhone when your phone is lost.

Find your iPhone when your phone is lost.
(CyberGuy.com)

I’ll summarize it again for clarity:

  • Private Networks: Only use this setting for networks that you control or trust. When a network is set to private, your PC is visible to other devices on the network. You can use it for file and printer sharing.
  • Public network: Use this to connect to public networks like airport or hotel WiFi. Your PC will be hidden from other devices on the network.

Did you know that your printer can be a gateway for hackers to wreak havoc? Here are five ways to lock down your printer.

How to change your network from public to private

If you need to share files, print, or otherwise make your devices visible to each other, set your network to private.

Follow these steps on your PC and you’re good to go:

  • Right click on the Wi-Fi Network Icon on the far right of the taskbar.
  • Choose Open Network and Internet Settings.
  • Locate and select your WiFi network characteristics.
  • Choose network profile.
  • Choose Private.

If you want to increase security, go ahead and switch back to Public Possibility. Just follow the instructions above and select in the last step Public instead of Private.

Note: This only applies to your home network. You’ll be prompted to select Public, Home, or Work for each network you’re connecting to. This selection is saved for this network profile.

Where you place your router is very important. Here’s a guide on where to place your router for the best speeds.

Routers with network cables are seen during the Hackyeah hackathon in Warsaw, Poland, September 18, 2019.  The Hackyeah hackathon is the largest stationary hackathon in Europe with around 2500 participants participating in a nightly hacking competition and over 100,000 euros in prize money.

Routers with network cables are seen during the Hackyeah hackathon in Warsaw, Poland, September 18, 2019. The Hackyeah hackathon is the largest stationary hackathon in Europe with around 2500 participants participating in a nightly hacking competition and over 100,000 euros in prize money.
(Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Keep your technical knowledge up to date

My favorite podcast is called Kim Komando Today. It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips and tech callers like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For convenience, click the link below to view a recent episode.

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Plus, teens with serious illnesses they found on TikTok diagnose themselves, sleep better with these podcasts, and signal that your phone or computer is infected with a keylogger. Oh, and men, stop putting your smartphone in your pocket!

Watch my Kim Komando Today podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.

Get more technical know-how on The Kim Komando Show, aired on over 425 radio stations and available as a podcast. Sign up for Kim’s 5-minute free morning roundup for the latest security breaches and tech updates. Do you need help? Leave your question for Kim here.

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