When your ISP provider connects your home network, they connect you via a router. We all enjoy having uninterrupted internet, but we rarely think about the cyber risks from the unsecured router. Vulnerable routers and weak passwords give hackers easy access to your home internet. During this COVID pandemic period, more people are working from home, making it easy for hackers to hack into your network. A compromised router gives hackers immediate access to not only your computers and phones, but also smart home devices like baby monitors, video doorbells, and intelligent locks.
Secure your home Network against Viruses and malware
The average everyday internet user, viruses are a common threat. Statistics indicate that almost 33% of home computers are affected by malware, of which more than half are viruses. Computer viruses are designed to spread from computer to computer and send spam as well as steal and corrupt data such as usernames and passwords and delete data from your hard drive.
Phishing involves scams initiated via email links and attachments. Hackers send the targeted victim an email purporting to be from a legitimate source such as a bank. Once you click on the link or open the attachment, the site redirects you to a fake website that proceeds to ask for personal details such as username or passwords.
In this type of attack, the attacker tries to crack your network’s encryption. Wired Equivalent Privacy networks are the most vulnerable to encryption attacks, and they can be cracked in under five minutes.
Five ways to secure your network
You can avoid hacking attacks by securing your system in several ways:
Download a VPN and activate firewalls.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a safe tunnel between your network and the internet. A VPN hides your IP address and location, making it harder for a hacker to pinpoint your location. To prevent your communication from being intercepted in transit, a VPN for a home router encrypts your network using the 256-bit encryption standard, which is used by security agents worldwide.
Most of the high-end routers have an in-built firewall that protects your network from cyber threats. Activate the firewall to mitigate attacks and add an extra security layer. If your router does not come with a firewall, you can install one for better protection.
Turn off the Wireless network when not in use.
To secure your home network, disable your wireless home network when not in use. Do the same for your devices that use Ethernet cables if you are away from home. Doing this closes all avenues that malicious hackers might use to access your network while not in use.
Some of the other reasons for disabling your network include mitigating power surges. When you switch off your network device, it minimizes any chances of damage to your device in case of power surges
Use a strong password.
Most routers come with default passwords such as “password” or “admin.” Such necessary passwords are easy for hackers to guess. The general rule of thumb on passwords is that they should be easy for you to remember, but extremely hard for a hacker to guess. Do not use obvious passwords such as pet names, children’s’ names, birth years, or birthdates. Use strong and unique passwords, which contain upper and lower cases, numbers, and special characters.
Update your router and software.
The router’s software is essential to your network’s security. Most wireless routers do not come with the auto-update feature, so you might have to do it manually. If your router can auto-update, you have to switch the setting on. Updating the software seals any loopholes or flaws that later become vulnerabilities hackers can use to hack into your router. Developers keep updating software to prevent hackers from using the weaknesses in previous software versions for malicious purposes. Ignoring these updates can be detrimental to your network security.
Change your home network’s default name.
To protect your home network, change your Wi-Fi network’s name, also called the SSID (Service Set identifier). Changing your network’s default name gives the hackers a hard time discovering what type of router you use. If a hacker knows your router’s manufacturer’s name, they might know the vulnerabilities that a particular model has and try to use them to hack the router and system. Use a name such as “Smart Wi-Fi or “This Wi-Fi has no name,” which makes it harder for a hacker to guess which network is yours, especially if there are several Wi-Fi networks in the neighborhood.
Securing your home network should be among your priorities to keep your data secure. These security steps are easy enough for someone who is not tech-savvy. Having a strong password is not enough to protect your network from hackers. Hackers are adept at hacking passwords, so extra measures such as installing a VPN, changing your Wi-Fi’s default name, or activating your router’s firewall. Updating its software are just some of the things you can do for extra protection.