Using the Internet for business has become a necessity. However, it also increases the risk of security threats and fraud.
Your internet router is the link between the devices you use and the outside world. It can also be used by hackers.
Don’t assume that your home system is secure or too small for attackers. In April 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security warned that Russian hackers were targeting ISPs, home routers, and firewalls.
Building a secure home network is essential to protect your identity and data It is impossible to be 100% secure. However, there are several preventative measures you can take with network security to become a more difficult target to attack.
Make sure your network security is enabled
Most homes have multiple devices connected to the network, such as smartphones, game systems, televisions, computers, wearables, and tablets. Each connected device must have the latest operating system, security software and web browsers.
Malicious code, malware or hackers gaining access to one Internet-facing device can infect or steal personal information from any other device connected to the same network.
Secure Your Router
More than three quarters of households in North America use Wi-Fi as their primary Internet connection. When you added your internet connection, your ISP installed a modem and router (or a combination of both), your network name and password.
Don’t use the default username and password. Hackers can access your router model with a simple Google search. Once they gain access, they can reset your password, rename your network, and change any configurations from the available options.
Follow these steps to improve the security of your wireless network:
- Change the Service Set Identifier (SSID): this is the name assigned to your Wi-Fi network. Make it harder for hackers to determine the type of router in use and use it to find any known vulnerabilities. Do not use a name that includes any personally identifiable information or any other identifiable information that is easy to interpret. Use a name that is unique to you and difficult to guess.
- Create a password for guests. If you have frequent guests, create a separate network for them.
- Change the preset router passphrase: Each router comes with a default passphrase, also known as WPA or security key. This is the password that connects you to the wireless network. Use a strong password of at least 12 characters.
You can also choose a higher security level. If your ISP offers WPA2, use this security level. WPA is the next best network security option, with WEP being the least secure.
Keep your software up-to-date
The software is updated frequently, including security fixes and critical fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities and threats. One of the most effective steps you can take to improve the cybersecurity of your home office network is to update your software regularly
Install Network Firewall
Installing a firewall on your home network will protect it from threats. It will protect against unauthorized access attempts and block malicious traffic.
Most routers have a built-in firewall. Some of them have additional network security features such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, web filtering, and access control.
Make sure you enable firewall as some are disabled by default. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your ISP for help.
Remove unused programs and services
Remove from your network all programs and services that you do not use to reduce network security risks. Many new computers come with trial applications and programs called bloatware preinstalled.
Bloated software can not only reduce the performance of your network devices, but also compromise your privacy.
We’ve all heard the quasi-joke that Big Brother is watching you. Unfortunately, this is no longer a joke.
Many websites and applications request access to your computer’s microphone and webcam. If you are not 100% sure that it is a safe and reliable source, do not provide access. If so, then someone, somewhere, is watching you.
To make sure no one, including those who do not ask for permission, has access to your webcam, lock your camera, tape or stamp it to protect yourself.
Just in case – Back up your data
Following the steps above will reduce the risks of attacks on your home or office network. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to keep yourself 100% safe from hackers.
Companies need to regularly back up their data to protect it from infection, loss, or damage. Use a cloud service, external media, or third-party backup app to automate and streamline the process. Remember to encrypt your backup to protect it.
Then, if you get hacked, you can at least recover.