James Martin of Inspired eLearning details how to protect your home devices from phishing, hacking and other online attacks.
While massive hacks and data breaches of organizations like Facebook grab the headlines, less attention is given to home security vulnerabilities that individuals need to better understand and protect against. So, let’s look at the most important things we can do to improve our home security.
Home wireless routers
Wireless routers come from the factory with a default user ID and password. You can most likely find the default ID and password for your router here. Follow the manufacturer’s user manual instructions for changing the default user ID and password. Next, make sure to stay current with the router’s most recent security updates. Even though a router lacks moving parts, it needs to be maintained with the latest security updates. Again, you can find the router’s IP address in the manual. Jot down the number and store it somewhere safe like your filing cabinet.
Your internet-connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart TVs, security cameras, smart locks, gaming consoles, and smart thermostats can add a level of convenience to your life, but they could also can make your home vulnerable to cyberattacks. Use a strong encryption method for wifi such as WPA2. Set up a guest network to keep your wifi account private. Visitors, friends and relatives can log into a separate network that doesn’t tie into your wifi connection and associated devices. Your IoT devices might come with default privacy and security settings – change them immediately. IoT devices come with a variety of services such as remote access, often enabled by default. If you don’t need it, be sure to disable it. You might want to manage your IoT devices through your mobile device in a coffee shop across town. If you’re on public wifi, generally, not a good idea. Use a VPN.
Monitor children’s web activity
Children are the most vulnerable among us and that goes for the Internet. Always monitor your children while they use the Internet. Have the computer placed in a location that is easily monitored like a living room or kitchen. All internet browsers save a record of the sites that have been visited. In Internet Explorer, you can access the internet history via the “Tools” menu, whereas in Chrome you will need to press the wrench button in the top right and select “History.” Alternatively, pressing “Ctrl+H” while the browser is active will bring up the history. Sites that have been visited are shown in reverse chronological order, so you can easily scroll through to see what your child has been looking at.
However, a child who resents you snooping could easily delete items from the history, so you will need to consider other ways of monitoring your child’s internet usage. There are commercial products that can help you monitor your children while on the web. Net Nanny is one of the most popular children monitoring applications available. Tell your children to always let you know of any cyber bullying that they encounter. The United States government has an excellent site regarding cyber bullying found here.
The above tips will help you on your way to making your home that haven for online safety. After you have employed all these controls, don’t get lazy. The threat landscape to your home is ever changing and expanding. Always keep your guard up and follow good security practices.