As our world becomes increasingly dependent on our online activities, we are constantly striving to improve our experience and speed up our access. You search for ways to improve the signal and extend your range for your Wi-Fi network, and you try to make access to that network as seamless as possible. In our quest to make our lives easier, it’s often tempting to take shortcuts on security even though we’re at least vaguely aware of its importance. There are robust cyber laws in the US that are meant to protect us against unwanted intruders, but hackers don’t really care about the law unless they get caught. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as we would like. It’s up to us to defend ourselves, and here are some things you can do make sure you’re protected.
Create Robust Passwords
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from unwanted intruders gaining access to your private home network is to create robust passwords. You should always avoid obvious passwords such as 1234, or 1111, as any hacker worth their salt will quickly gain access to your network if your passwords are this easy to decipher. It’s best to create passwords that are at least 8 characters long and include a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters – it’s not a bad idea to include a capital as well. Also, remember to change your passwords every few months for added security.
Strong Antivirus and Malware Protection
I was talking to my niece’s husband the other day and I was surprised when he told me he didn’t have any virus protection on his computer. Operating systems such as Windows and Apple’s OS may have built in securities, but they are not robust enough to protect you from all of the threats your system is exposed to every time you access the web. You should always have an up-to-date antivirus program on your devices, and some type of malware protection is a good idea as well.
Full Network Firewalls
When you’re building your network, consider purchasing a router with a built-in firewall. This protects all of the devices on your network regardless of how robust the protection is on any particular device. Your computer may have a firewall on it, but your tablet and smartphone probably don’t. By opting for a router with a built-in firewall you no longer have to worry about what type of protection your individual devices have.
The Next Step: A Virtual Private Network
Having a router with a firewall will not make you invisible to potential hackers – it basically just puts a strong lock on the door to your network. Like conventional intruders, a determined hacker can break that door down if they try hard enough. The best way to protect yourself from such intrusions is to make your network invisible. You can do this by opting for a router that also acts as a Virtual Private Network. This is a piece of software that protects your network by disguising your address. When a hacker tries to access your network, they will not be able to pinpoint your location and will quickly move on to an easier target.
Don’t Forget Your Smart Devices
One of the least understood vulnerabilities on your home network are the various smart devices that you’ve added to make life easier. It might be nice to be able to control that smart thermostat remotely, but it also creates another potential access point for hackers. It’s important to make sure you also have secure passwords on these devices and that you update their firmware frequently for any security updates.