Home Network Security: What Is It, Why You Should Care, And How
When discussing internet security, one thing that is often overlooked is the security profile of the home network. It should be your utmost priority to secure your home network first as it contains all the devices at your home including smart gadgets, security systems, smart locks, etc.
Hackers go for the biggest payday that they can get. This is why a number of them will only target businesses (small to large) and individuals that they believe have a considerable amount of money.
Things have changed in the past 150 days and more, though. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are spending time at home than before. In the world of online security, what does that mean for you?
Why You Should Secure Your Home Network Better
Measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus include a compulsory lockdown of the economy as we know it. This means businesses are not open – and many companies are having to resort to having their employees work from home.
This is also different from a vacation season in many ways. After all, even then, people are allowed to go out. Now, almost everyone is confined to the comforts of their homes.
Thus, hackers are motivated to target users at home. Some of the factors behind that switch include, but are not limited to:
Working from Home
Many businesses have a strong firewall around their network which makes the work harder for hackers who want to get into such networks. Now that people are working more from home, hackers only have to deal with the relatively weaker network security that they would face from these home internet connections.
Thus, hackers can compromise work accounts once they hijack the details from a user who does not have a good security profile.
Transacting from Home
More online purchases have been made in the time of the lockdown than any other comparable timeframe. For the fear of being infected with the virus when stepping out, buyers are preferring to go with online retailers instead.
The downside to that is not having a secure network. This allows hackers to get access to sensitive information such as credit card details and other personally-identifying information. They can either use this in isolation or as part of a much larger attack. Of course, that would not be the case if such a network was secure, to begin with.
The bigger picture here is worse than what we have explored already. When a hack happens to the home network, not only will important internet data and sensitive information be stolen. The hacker will also get access to connected devices on that network.
That includes all of the baby monitors, printers, TVs, game consoles, smartphones, computers, and more. Even smart locks could be manipulated as a result of such hacks, resulting in a physical breach of the home.
That is too much of a liability to incur, especially when you can do something about it to ensure you are never caught in such shoes.
Simple Steps to Secure Your Home Network
The good news is that you do not have to be a tech expert before you have a secure home network. At the same time, though, you have to take action else everything we are saying here won’t work for you.
1. Set Secure Passwords
Your home router has allowances for passwords. A poor habit with most users is using the default password which comes with these routers out of the box.
Note that there are online directories that detail the make, admin username, and passwords of most of the router kinds out there. Thus, you would be playing right into the hands of the hacker when you do not change the password.
Likewise, change the router name before you commence using it. You are free to choose anything at all here, even a nickname. That prevents the hacker from identifying the unique make and model of your router from the name string alone.
Note: Besides the password required for device authentication on the network, also change the admin dashboard password for your router.
2. Secure the Connection
The dangers of public and free Wi-Fi networks have spurred a lot of content that dissuades people from using them. What makes these networks bad for us is their lack of encryption which ultimately gives way to a ton of other ills. Unfortunately, the fact that you have a personal internet connection does not mean that it is encrypted.
Network encrypting is usually a technical process that is not for the average user. Fortunately, installing a home VPN router does the same thing for you. A VPN tunnels your internet data over different servers, losing anyone trying to follow such data in a noisy trail that they simply cannot follow. No doubt, encryption will definitely help you secure your home network even better.
Also Read – Top 10 Free VPN apps for Android and iPhone
3. Set Device Passwords
Sometimes, your home network is not just an internet connection. It could also refer to the collection of devices that have been connected to interact with one another. Seeing as the connected devices economy continues to boom, that is something you also have to address.
A while back, an entire casino had its database files stolen by hackers gaining entry through an aquarium thermostat. This reinforces the belief that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Thus, ensure every unit connected to your home network has a powerful password behind it. Employ password generators to get unique, hard to crack passwords. Never use the same password for more than one account also.
4. Turn off Network name broadcasting
You can even turn off your network name broadcasting, doing so will not show your network to the public and people will have to manually enter the details to connect to the network. Users with the correct network name and password only will connect to your home network. This will act as an added layer of security to your home network.
5. Keep Devices Updated
Smart devices – no matter which it is – operate on some form of firmware. This firmware should get updates periodically to prevent it from susceptibility to vulnerabilities and flaws. However, getting these updates will mean nothing if you do not download and install them.
Installing these updates will patch your smart device to the latest security protocol. That, then, prevents hackers from taking advantage of those bugs to exploit your security and undermine your network. Updating your devices will secure your home network with the latest security protocol.
6. Split Devices
If you can afford to run more than one router in your home, that would be very much preferred. This will better secure your home network from hackers and works best in combination with other method listed here.
This is important in a household with many internet users and a sizeable number of connected devices also. In such a case, smartphones and computer units can be connected to one router while IoT devices (such as printers, smart refrigerators, TVs, etc.) can be connected to the other.
The advantage of such a model is that hacks can quickly be contained if they do happen at all. Instead of the hacker getting access to every device on the network, they will only be able to see a few before they are booted off the connection.
7. Stay Vigilant
Keeping a keen eye on things could sometimes make flaws easily identifiable before they become a full-blown issue.
Observe to see if there are changes in any of the connected systems that you (nor any of the authorized admins) did not make. That will suggest tampering from the outside, meaning you have to change your password and other security detail.
Prevention is Better
You might not know how much sensitive data you are sitting on until a breach happens. And no matter how strong passwords or security apps you use, if your home network is compromised, every device connected to it is compromised.
You must take proactive measures to secure your home network. Using the tips above, you are ensured a better security model for your home network than before.