Why to Lock Your WiFi Network

wifi network open

We LOVE an open WiFi network. Let’s face it, we’re kind of addicted to technology, and we never go anywhere without our cell phones.  We long to constantly be in the know with the latest gossip, most recent sports stats, and so on. So when we go to a public place with open WiFi, we’re ecstatic. Shouldn’t we keep the same good karma going by leaving our WiFi open?

Yes, it can get annoying when everyone asks for your WiFi password, but this remains the safest way to use the Internet wirelessly. As we’ve discussed before, public networks often lead to sketchy phishers, so we know to avoid a public network most times. Refusing to lock your WiFi network, though, creates potential threats and nuisances to your connection.

network connection error

When others use your WiFi network, you may experience more error pages and decreased browsing speeds.

Who hates a slow Internet connection? *All hands go up*

When your WiFi network remains open to the public, people (probably the neighbors still haven’t returned your hedge trimmers they borrowed two years ago) will use it. So, while you innocently try to look up good brisket recipes, your network connection take forever to load. Meanwhile, the WiFi mooches enjoy streaming the latest episode of “Orange is the New Black” or blaring “Shake It Off” for the forty-second time this evening (let’s be honest–it’s too catchy to only listen to once).


Flickr: Jared Tarbell

Do you like viruses? Yeah, we don’t either.

Keeping your WiFi network open to anyone is really just inviting anyone into your cyberspace. Think of your WiFi as your home. What would happen if you left for vacation and did not lock the door to your home? Odds are, some hooligan would figure out that the house was open and have a field day. Perhaps parties would be thrown, illegal exchanges would occur, or someone (or someones) would take over your vacant home.

Likewise, leaving your WiFi unlocked is inviting intruders in. Anyone can use your network to hack credit cards, make unlawful purchases, download illegally, and more. When the police trace the signal, they will come knocking on your door. You can be held responsible for their unlawful actions. Yikes!

digital media usage

Flickr: WOCinTech Chat

Moral of the Story

Create a strong password to protect all WiFi connections you own. For more information on building secure passwords, see our post here.