Home networks power our digital lives, and keeping them running smoothly means making sure that they are secure. Comcast works hard behind the scenes to protect its customers, and their networks and devices, but there are also some easy steps you can take to make your home network safer from hackers, malware and other cyber threats.
Let’s start with the basics.
Keeping your home network safe begins with following good security practices on the devices you use to connect to the Internet. Makers of computers, software, phones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices regularly update their products with critical security fixes for bugs and other flaws. When you’re prompted to update your software or device, it’s best to download and install the update right away.
If you have a newer device or computer, it’s very likely auto-updates are on by default, but if you have questions, check your settings. Here are some update instructions for Windows PCs and Macs as a way to get started.
Using security software can provide another layer of protection to your home network. If you are an Xfinity Internet customer, visit Constant Guard to download Norton Internet security, free of charge for your Mac or PC.
Maintaining good password hygiene also helps protect your home devices and personal data from being compromised. Try to use long, strong passwords. It’s also important to use different passwords for different accounts, which protects you if one password is somehow compromised. Have trouble remembering multiple passwords? Consider using a password manager to make it easier. The National Cyber Security Alliance has some tips for good password security that are a great place to start.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to change the names of your private and guest Wi-Fi networks from the default to something memorable and meaningful to you. Even more important, update the default password on your home networks. Securing your home network with a strong password (with uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols) will go a long way to protect all of your Internet-connected devices.
Tools for Comcast customers
Comcast also does a lot of the security work for your home network behind the scenes, without requiring you to get involved.
If you lease a cable modem from us, we automatically update it with the latest software, which includes security updates and bug fixes. This also applies to our wireless gateways, which incorporate the cable modem and wireless router in a single device.
If you’ve purchased your cable modem, we will push updates to that device as well, provided it is included on our list of current compatible devices, although we do depend upon these device vendors to continue to maintain their software. When a manufacturer stops providing updates for a device, we typically move that device to what we call “End-of-Life” or “End-of-Support” status, and recommend that you replace your equipment.
If you’re leasing a device that is no longer compatible, visit our upgrade site and we’ll ship you a new one at no additional cost, along with a self-install kit. If you own your modem and need to replace it, here are some suggestions for retail devices that work on our network.
Stand alone Wi-Fi routers
If you purchased a standalone Wi-Fi router or gateway that you connect either to a cable modem you lease from us – or one that you own yourself – there are a few steps you should take to make sure you are running the latest version of your device’s operating software (called “firmware”). This is critically important, as devices can become less secure over time, as new vulnerabilities are discovered.
Some retail routers and gateways can be set to automatically update, and if that option is not available, router manufacturers provide detailed instructions on how to manually update devices on their websites. At the bottom of this post, we’ve provided links to those instructions from a number of manufacturers. If you don’t see your device below, a quick search with your manufacturer is the best place to start.
Finally, Comcast manages a malware detection service that keeps an eye out for malware that communicates with your home network. If we see that your network has been targeted, we will alert you and provide guidance on how to fix the problem. While this happens automatically, you can also check for yourself for free if you’re a customer using our “Am I Botted?” tool.
For many more good tips on staying secure, check out the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Stay Safe Online.
Below are links to firmware update information provided by a number of retail Wi-Fi router and gateway manufacturers.