Security Tip: Are You Making This Huge Wi-Fi Mistake?

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You pay well for your internet service, so I understand the frustration of a slow connection. Newsflash: It’s not always your ISP’s fault. Here are common Wi-Fi errors.

Entertaining guests? They want access to your Wi-Fi, but it’s annoying to give your login repeatedly. Get technically smart. Place a QR code in your home that automatically logs in guests to your home network.

If now one hacker invade your home network, they can find their way to your personal information. Should you set your home Wi-Fi network to public or private? The answer may surprise you.

A woman walks past a Wi-Fi payphone in New York on July 12, 2012.
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It’s not what you think

It would be the safest setting to set your home Wi-Fi network to private, right? That is actually incorrect. But don’t let the sloppy terminology confuse you.

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

If you want to share files or send documents to a family member at your home on 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 it to receive the documents you want to print. Clear as mud, right?

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Let me summarize again for clarity:

  • Private network: Use this setting only 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, such as airport or hotel Wi-Fi. 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 your printer.

How to change your network from public to private

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.
  • Select Open Network & Internet Settings.
  • Find your Wi-Fi network and select Properties.
  • Select Network profile.
  • Select Private.
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If you want to improve security, go ahead and go back to the Public option. Just follow the instructions above and when you get to the last step, select Public instead of Private.

Note: This only applies to your home network. You will be prompted to select Public, Private, or Work for each network you connect to. This choice is saved for that network profile.

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

Routers with network cables are on display during the Hackyeah hackathon in Warsaw, Poland on September 18, 2019. The Hackyeah hackathon is the largest stationary hackathon in Europe with some 2,500 participants taking part in an overnight hacking competition and more than 100,000 euros in prize money.

Routers with network cables are on display during the Hackyeah hackathon in Warsaw, Poland on September 18, 2019. The Hackyeah hackathon is the largest stationary hackathon in Europe with some 2,500 participants taking part in an overnight hacking competition and more than 100,000 euros in prize money.
(Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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In addition, teens diagnose themselves with serious illnesses found on TikTok, sleep better with these podcasts, and report that your phone or computer is infected with a keylogger. Oh, and guys, don’t put your smartphone in your pocket anymore!

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