Home network security is so important. If your network isn’t secure, hackers could break into your network and take control of your devices, use malware to steal your personal data, or even hold your work documents and family pictures for ransom.
You need to take basic steps to protect your home network and devices from cyber criminals. Don’t let yourself become a victim. Avoid these crucial mistakes.
1. Not Updating Your Router or Gateway
Lots of people get a Wi-Fi router or gateway from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) and just keep using the same one for years without even thinking about updating it. You need to replace your wireless gateway or router every two or three years. If you’re renting a router from your ISP, you should contact them to get updated equipment. However, for the cost of renting a router from your ISP for about a year, you could buy a router of your own and save some money in monthly fees.
2. Not Using a Premium Security Suite
You absolutely need to be using antivirus in this day and age. You can get a virus or malware just from going to a malicious website. Lots of the apps in Google Play Store and Apple App Store are actually malicious. And phishing scams are getting more sophisticated – no matter how strong your awareness of social engineering and phishing emails is, it only takes one moment of grogginess, weakness, or poor decision-making to succumb.
Get a premium online security suite to protect your devices from malware, scammers, and spies. A good premium online security suite will offer protection for as many as 10 devices, with mobile security for smartphones and tablets, identity protection, password management, security for Mac and PC computers, tech support, and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) proxy to secure your traffic on public connections.
3. Not Changing the Default Login Info for Your Router’s Admin Account
Plenty of people aren’t even aware that their router has such a thing as an admin account that needs to be logged into, much less any security settings in there that should be switched on. Go to your router’s IP address and use the default username and password to login into your admin dashboard. Your router’s IP address is probably printed on one of the stickers stuck to the bottom or back of your router. If it isn’t, you can look it up.
If your router’s default login credentials aren’t printed anywhere on the device and aren’t listed in the paperwork you received when you purchased or rented your router, try searching for the information on Google – just search for your router’s model and “default password.” It’s really that easy to find, and that’s exactly why you should change the credentials to something unique and more secure.
4. Using an Easily Guessed Password
Stealing your password is probably the easiest way for a hacker to gain access to your personal information. And it’s not always hard for hackers to guess your password. If your password is some piece of personal information, like your child’s birthday, for example, that’s a password that hackers could guess if they got their hands on that information – and if you post about yourself on social media, it might be easier than you imagine for hackers to get that caliber of personal information about you.
You need to use unique, strong passwords. It’s best to use a password manager so that you can create strong, unique passwords for each and every one of your online accounts. Don’t just use the same password for everything because if hackers get ahold of that password – and they might – they’ll have access to your social media, bank and credit card accounts, budgeting software, and everything else you use. Your passwords should be long and contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Most password managers have a password generator feature that allows you to generate strings of random characters and numbers that are harder for hackers to crack.
5. Leaving Remote Access Turned On
There’s a setting in your router’s admin dashboard called remote access, which allows you to access your router’s dashboard – and control your network – remotely, instead of just from your home network. You probably don’t need to access your router’s admin dashboard remotely so that you can turn this feature off, and you’ll also be locking out hackers who may want to try and connect to your router from, for example, a car parked outside on the street.
Protecting your home network is one of the most important things you can do for your family’s safety and security, financial and otherwise. Make sure you’re doing things right so that hackers look for easier targets.
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