In today’s world, the internet is all-encompassing. We rely on the connectivity offered by high-speed broadband to perform a vast variety of routine functions. We have become so dependent on the service that it’s hard to even imagine functioning without it.
Feel like watching a movie? Stream it online. Want to interact with friends? Log onto social media. Want to book a ride or a plane ticket? Launch an app. In short, almost all facets of modern life have moved to the digital realm and the internet is the gateway to this realm.
But the internet is not all fun, games, social media, and cat videos even though studies suggest that is exactly what most of us use it for.
We use this service to perform a lot of serious, often critical, and sometimes sensitive tasks. For instance, many of us use online banking accounts, credit cards, and digital wallets to make payments online. Similarly, some might use their home internet to connect to secure work networks, send out delicate emails, or transfer official data.
And yes, lest we forget, a significant number of people use their home internet networks to control their house’s security and automation systems and gadgets.
And while most folks would not mind random strangers accessing their YouTube histories, the thought of malicious actors gaining access to credit card pins, home camera feeds, and official information would keep a lot of people up at night.
At the risk of fear-mongering, it is pertinent to mention that all this sensitive data mentioned above is basically being sent out through the air fairly publicly to and from your home internet network router.
And a wide variety of criminal actors/hackers are constantly on the lookout for vulnerabilities in your home network’s security, waiting to pounce at the first sign of weakness.
For this reason, members of the public must take certain steps to ensure the security of their home networks and consequently their lives.
But worry not, we are here to help. This write-up lays down some simple but crucial steps you must take to keep your home network secure.
So, let’s delve in.
Research Before Selecting An Internet Service Provider
Your internet service provider (ISP) is your primary gateway to the World Wide Web. While a credible ISP will take steps to ensure that your internet traffic and data remain protected from external attacks, a run-of-the-mill provider might leave your personal information exposed.
Several trustworthy ISPs offer in-built features to help secure, both your home network and the devices connected to it.
For instance, Spectrum offers a free cloud-based security suite to all its customers, this security setup ensures that your router’s traffic is protected using firewalls and that your devices remain free of any malware or viruses.
In simple words, not only connects you to fast-paced broadband but also makes sure that everything you do using that connection remains safe. So, that you do not have to worry about installing additional software or taking mitigating steps to keep your home network secure. Talk about service delivery, right?
Do Not Publicly Broadcast Your Wi-Fi
This is a somewhat controversial yet effective security measure. Normally, people choose to freely broadcast the names of their Wi-Fi networks so that it’s easier for new users to connect to the network. Because the common understanding is that a password is enough to keep bad actors from gaining access.
While this is true in most cases, there are several techniques hackers can use to force their way into publicly broadcasted Wi-Fi networks. Hackers can make informed guesses or utilize special software to try every possible combination to gain access to your home network.
Shutting down the public broadcasting feature of your Wi-Fi protects you against such attacks. Now, in addition to the password the hacker needs to accurately guess your home network’s name and security type. In simple words, now your Wi-Fi has three layers of security instead of one.
The downside is of course that trusted users have to go through a lengthier process for connecting to your Wi-Fi. But this little inconvenience is a fair trade-off for foolproof security.
Upgrade To Wpa 2 Security
This may sound like technical gibberish but it’s important gibberish nonetheless. WPA2 is an internet security protocol that encrypts or meshes up your data as it is transferred through the internet. In simple words, your data becomes unreadable to anyone who should not have access to it.
Anyone who gains unauthorized access to your personal information will require a special encryption key to make sense of it, or they can try using a supercomputer to decrypt the files. In short, your data is useless to hackers even if they are somehow able to obtain it.
While most modern ISPs set use the WPA2 as the default security protocol some providers (read the first point) may still be relying on the older WPA protocol. So, just double-check. Once the provider has installed your connection log onto the panel and make sure that the security setting is set to WPA2 and not WPA.
This is imperative because the WPA protocol is full of flaws and weaknesses that even the most basic hackers can exploit.
Set A Strong Password And Keep Changing It
Even though this feels like very simple advice compared to the technical jargon we’ve discussed in the points above, the importance of your password in protecting your home network needs to be emphasized and re-emphasized.
Your password is your primary line of defense. So, make sure to set up a string password as soon as you get a new internet connection.
And yes, keep changing the password at least every six months. This may cause some level of discomfort as you will have to re-connect all your devices to the internet but rest assured this discomfort is nothing when compared to the discomfort of having your credit card information stolen.
It is almost impossible to keep track of all the different types of activities we perform using our home internet connections. And while some of these activities like multi-player online gaming are relatively casual, some activities like using a digital wallet to make payments are a lot more sensitive.
For this reason, all of us must take steps to keep our home networks secure from external threats. Even though some of these security measures may seem like an additional hassle, the hassle of being safe is always better than the hassle of being sorry.