Best practices for internet security

Learn the basics of internet security here. Protect yourself with good judgment and education about these four topics.

A strong and secure password helps to protect your information. Follow these tips to create and manage stronger passwords

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides these recommendations on creating secure passwords:

  • Don't use the same password for multiple accounts. Otherwise, someone with access to one of your accounts may end up with access to many others.

  • Don't let your web browser remember passwords. If an unauthorized person gains access to your computer or smartphone, they could access any account that your browser automatically signs into.

  • Don't use any of these commonly used and guessed passwords: 123456adminpassword, 111111, qwerty, asdfg.

  • The strongest passwords are at least 12 characters and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (!@#$&^%).

Common types of passwords

Types Password Details
The PPP username/password is what the modem presents to your ISP to gain access to the internet. This information is automatically programmed into your CenturyLink supported modem during the initial setup. If the automated process fails, or you are using a non-standard equipment, you may need the PPP username/password to program your equipment manually. If you have an ISP other than CenturyLink, contact them for details on connecting to the internet. Chat with tech support


The modem's admin username/password is used to restrict access to your modem settings. The modem GUI (located at gives you access to utilities, tools, and settings like wireless, port forwarding, firewall, and more.

The wireless username/password (a.k.a. SSID or passphrase) on your modem is used to restrict access to your modem's ability to provide a wireless internet connection.
Email  An email password is used to restrict access to your email.
My CenturyLink 
My CenturyLink is your online account access to view and pay your bill and make changes to your CenturyLink account and features.

Learn more about securing your computer, network, and security software.

Operating system

Make sure your device's operating system, browser, plug-ins, and programs are up-to-date. Here are some tips:

  • Operating system: Typically, unless you've changed your device's settings, it will automatically prompt you when there are updates to install.

  • Programs and apps: Check with the manufacturer or app store to look for updates.

  • Browsers and plug-ins: Try using a website like to see if your browser and plug-ins are up-to-date.

Security software

Most devices provide some level of built-in security. You can also get additional protection from programs such as McAfee, Norton, Avast, and others.

Wireless network

Wireless networks can be vulnerable to hackers or malicious software. Wireless networks use radio waves that can go beyond the boundaries of your home or business. If you don't secure your network, people with computers nearby may be able to access information on your computers and use your internet connection to perform illegal activities. Learn how to secure your WiFi network.

Internet users are constantly being offered free software. Remember that behind every website or email campaign is a real individual or business attempting to generate revenue. Be cautious when considering installing “free software.”

Downloading freeware

Legitimate software can be modified to house malware and made available for download on third party sites. The safest way to obtain software is to download it directly from the manufacturer.

Downloading trial software

Sometimes companies offer "trial software" or beta versions of the software that may expire after a set time or be limited in functionality. Some of this is legitimate, but some will deliver malware or extra items that the user did not agree to. Do research on the software package online to see what others who have tried it are saying about it. There are many online sites where users report malicious software packages.

In additon to keeping your email account secure with a strong password, stay aware of common email scams such as:



Learn more tips for email security.

Open relays and proxies

An open mail relay is a setting email servers use to allow anyone to send email through it.

How to test an IP address for an open relay: Use the search term "SMTP open relay test" to find a 3rd party tool to test for open relay.

How to report an open relay: Search for "how to report open relay" to find a 3rd party tool to open relays.

How to fix an open relay: If you need network or system security advice, you should hire a competent accredited security consultant. If you feel comfortable troubleshooting on your own, search for "securing systems against spam" or "how to secure your email system against third-party relay".

Secure WiFi is ending

Secure WiFi will be discontinued on all CenturyLink modems at the end of August 2024. Look for an email from CenturyLink for exact dates. 

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