Protection on the homefront: How to secure your home network
Threats to cyber security are present whenever we connect online. At work, our accounts are prone to being victims of malware and hackers that aim to breach the database of a company from within.
Contrary to what many believe, these threats are not limited to small businesses or international companies. Even your home is vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The fact that you might not store any financial data on your devices and networks does not fend off malicious attackers. After all, even if they get hands on your personal data such as birth date, social security number, etc., their hunt will be successful.
They will sell this later on the dark web, and you could even get in legal trouble despite your innocence. Imagine what would happen if someone used your social security number, for example, to commit an insurance fraud.
That said, the last thing you might think about is getting your network hacked or your information compromised while using your home network. However, hackers aren’t very discerning when it comes to victims. They’ll strike anyone to make a profit.
If you are concerned about the safety of your network and data, then check out our tips for maximizing your cyber security at home.
Secure Your Router
One of the common entry points for hackers is the router. That being said, you must take extra steps to ensure that your router and network are impenetrable for people that have no authority over them.
- If you are using a new router, you may want to change its name and passphrase. Hackers can easily identify the default name of a router. Make sure to change it into something that cannot be guessed by others. It is even more essential to change the password to a complex one so that hackers cannot break it easily.
- You should also review the available security options for your Wi-Fi. The common options are WPA, WPA2, WEP, and WPA-PSK. Choose WPA-PSK if possible, as it is the best choice according to How To Geek. Do keep in mind that some security options might slow your network down, so be sure to study each solution before picking one.
- Upon setting up the router, install a firewall before you start browsing the internet. Firewalls are different from antivirus software in the sense that they block any unknown attempts to access your system. Luckily, operating systems often come with a firewall, so this will be set up for you automatically.
Turn Off Your Wireless Network When You’re Not At Home
A common mistake committed by many individuals is that they don’t turn off routers while being away from home. Not only is this a waste of electricity, but it also makes your home network prone to attacks.
Hackers will only be able to infiltrate your network if it is up and running. What’s worse, if an attack takes place, you won’t be around to take the necessary steps and protect your network.
Place Your Router At The Center Of The House
Believe it or not, router placement is also crucial when it comes to maximizing your home network security. Ideally, you should place it at the center of your home. Doing so brings a few benefits.
First is that each room in the house will have equally good access to the network. Second is that those from the outside will have weaker access, thus making it harder for them to breach it.
Change Your IP Address
People tend to keep the same IP address at home. Although it may sound complicated to change it, doing this is pretty easy and could make it more difficult for hackers to track your network.
Here’s how to do this:
- Log into your router’s console. To do so, type in http://192.168.1.1 or http://192.168.0.1 in the address bar and press enter.
- Once in, simply input the username and password of the network on the login page.
- Next, pick Network > LAN.
- Change the IP address to what you prefer and make sure never to forget it.
Protect Devices Usually Connected To The Network
Even if the network itself is safe and secure, it will still have potential flaws in the form of the devices connected to it. Whether it be a desktop computer or a smartphone, hackers can use any device to hack into your home network without breaking a sweat.
As such, make sure to increase the security measures by taking the following steps:
- Install cyber security solutions such as firewalls and antivirus software. This is the most basic line of defense for any network or device. There are many free options online, but be sure only to use the well-trusted brands.
- Another way to avoid getting into trouble online is by simply avoiding questionable links. Only stick to reputable websites. This also means not disclosing crucial information or data to obscure websites.
- One of the best ways to avoid any breaches or threats online is by simply staying well-informed. People tend to become victims of threats to cyber security as they aren’t familiar with the current hacking and protection trends. By brushing up on these threats, you’ll be able to protect your network and devices even further.
Regularly Update Software
Software developers regularly release updates or even small patches to fill in any holes within the system. Aside from adding new features, these regular updates will also protect your network from harm by adding in more defenses. Make sure always to keep your operating system and other software up-to-date.
Your home network should not be the least of your worries. In fact, it should be one of the things you should protect first. Leaving it open to threats could compromise the private information of anyone that connects to your network.
Fortunately, protecting your home network isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Just stick to the above-discussed tips, and you should do fine.