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Posted on: May 26, 2022

Residents reminded to secure home wireless internet networks

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SPEARFISH, SD – The Spearfish Police Department is reminding residents to take precautions to secure home wireless internet networks to protect devices from getting hacked and/or personal information stolen.

The department recently responded to calls involving an individual parking outside of residences, and it is believed the individual was seeking unsecured wireless networks to utilize from the vehicle.

“People typically have a number of wireless devices connected to their home networks, ranging from our phones and computers to voice assistants and smart appliances, and if your network is unprotected, any device within range can use that internet connection,” Spearfish Public Safety Director Pat Rotert said. “Please take steps to secure your home wireless network. Otherwise, unauthorized users could see what you’re transmitting, access your personal information, or download malware.”

Steps to protect your home wireless network include:

  • Make sure your wireless router’s encryption feature is turned on.
  • If your wireless router comes with a built-in firewall feature, turn that on.
  • Change the default name the manufacturer gave the router to one only you/authorized users would know.
  • Change the password on the router from its default, and make the new password at least 10-12 characters long (using a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols) and difficult to guess.
  • Check for new security updates for your router through the manufacturer.
  • Check security options for all your wireless internet connected devices, including gaming systems, to ensure they are also secure.

“We all know the importance of securing our home, and in today’s day and age, we have to secure our devices, as well, to protect against internet intruders,” Public Safety Director Rotert said.

For more information about identity theft and online security, visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice webpage.

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