Home networks seem to take a backseat when considering cybersecurity, which is a risky business for those using the network. Those installing a new Wi-Fi at home find setting up security protocols confusing and time-consuming.
Home networks are vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks, regardless of their size. Most hackers are not specific about their targets, simply looking for as much data and as many victims as possible. A common misconception is that home networks are not valuable enough for an attack, but plenty of valuable information travels to and from these networks.
While rushing to get internet access established is understandable, taking the time to ensure a few security features are in place is recommended. Take these five ideas into account when setting up your home network to ensure the whole system is secure.
Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software
Many users believe if the network itself is protected, then there is no reason to protect the devices connected to it. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If a vulnerability is exposed, it is essential that each device is capable of protecting itself from threats.
Antivirus and antimalware software can scan your devices to identify hostile threats. This type of software should also be downloaded to tablets and mobile phones that connect to the network, as well. Your network is only as strong as its weakest link, and that link could easily be an infected Android phone.
With mobile phones in mind, it may be beneficial to download a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to your Android for added security. A VPN can protect your mobile device when it is connected to public networks while you are on the go. By encrypting data sent to and from the device, it can prevent hackers that hunt vulnerable users connected to these public networks.
The fastest way to create a vulnerability in your network is to avoid updates. All devices and connections should be updated with the most recent versions of operating systems, to ensure security patches are installed.
On mobile devices, tablets, or computers that use apps, make sure the apps are up to date and in use. If an app is outdated or has not received an update recently, it may be best to consider removing it.
Change the Defaults
Hackers quite easily decode the default username and password provided with your router. As soon as you set up your network, change these defaults to something secure and complex. Access to your router means access to the network and every device connected to it. Take this simple step to make it more challenging for hackers to gain access.
Another default to change is the SSID. This information is the network name that displays when selecting which network to connect to. While the name itself will not allow access, hackers use default SSIDs as an indication that a network may have been set up hastily. This could lead to your network being targeted because it is presumed vulnerable.
Most routers and access points have firewalls automatically installed and enabled. However, you should verify that this is the case. The firewall acts as a barrier between outside malicious activity and your network. A firewall can stand in the way of certain cyber-attacks.
Besides, every device that connects to the network should have an active firewall. While it may seem like a redundancy, each device should be considered its own entity. The goal is to protect the network and all the devices on it.
Practice Safe Digital Behaviors
Most employers emphasize cybersecurity, yet those same employees forget those safe behaviors when at home. Most hackers do not discriminate when determining which networks to attack and many of their methods are the same when attacking a company or an individual.
Be conscious of unusual emails when checking even your personal email account. If the sender is unknown, the content seems odd, or the link seems out of place, then delete the email immediately. Avoid browsing unknown websites or sites that rank poorly on Google searches.
Hackers are not picky when it comes to who their victims might be. Protect your home network by following the five recommendations above. As you take each step in evaluating your network security, considerations should also be made for the devices that connect to it.