The world has become so tech driven that the lines between home security and internet security are beginning to blur. Nowadays, protecting your loved ones and assets requires that you stay aware of threats to your identity and your home’s automated devices. Maintaining a digital perimeter will take a bit of effort and input from the entire family, but the consequences of a household security breach are way worse than explaining a few extra internet rules to your kids.
Try out these strategies to develop a better home security system when it comes to online threats like hackers and identity thieves.
“Develop a strategy to deal with hackers and identity thieves.”
1. Update your router’s defenses
The first step to a digitally secure home is a secure wireless network. After all, more and more devices in the home have become automated and are accessible by way of your router.
For example, an intruder that gains access to your home network could compromise smart locks, camera systems and other smart home devices. That’s why your wireless router should be your first priority when it comes to digital home security.
Start by encrypting your network’s signal by accessing the router’s settings. WPA2 offers the best protection, especially when combined with an intentional password that’s difficult to crack.
Don’t settle for an easily remembered phrase – the more complex your password, the more difficult your network is for intruders to access. You can also set your router to filter MAC, or media access control, addresses, preventing all but registered devices from being recognized by the network.
PC Magazine recommends you turn off your network’s broadcasting function to require that all users manually enter the name of your network to connect. This will make your network name invisible to intruders looking for vulnerable networks to crack.
2. Take care before making digital purchases
Cybercriminals don’t need to be within range of your wireless network to compromise your personal security and gain access to your identity. A public Wi-Fi network in a restaurant, work or even the home of a friend is the last place you want to make an online transaction on your smartphone. There’s no telling what kind of security measures are protecting the signal or who may already be monitoring traffic across the network.
Such networks are easy prey for a savvy hacker looking to score valuable information, and even a simple purchase could reveal credit card information and a user’s home address. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your bank account and credit score.
3. Watch what you say online
Social media has plenty of perks, but the resource comes with a few risks as well. One of those risks is the reality that you can never be 100% sure of who is able to view what you say and post.
Clue in members of your family to this danger as well. Younger kids and older family members with less experience online should probably be the first members of the household to receive this reminder. Hackers have been known to target both age groups in an attempt to gain extra information about a prospective victim, especially on social media.
Even statuses that are only made visible to friends can be viewed by strangers if they crack the right person’s password. Given all the uncertainty inherent to the digital era, a bit of discretion on social media will go a long way toward keeping your home off the radar of thieves and hackers.
4. Monitor the source of traffic on your Wi-Fi network
The best way to make sure your wireless network and personal information have not been compromised is to keep a close eye on all the devices that are currently accessing your network. Whether you detect the presence of a criminal or your friendly neighborhood internet mooch, repelling the threat will be much easier once you have a better idea of where it came from.
There are several programs that you can use to track this information, and some high-end routers have software included that make monitoring network traffic over your router a breeze.
If you do detect unauthorized access, first see if the rogue device you find was just a guest with a computer or smartphone who asked to use the wireless signal. If that doesn’t appear to be the case, start updating passwords, changing network addresses and strengthening router encryption to boot the intruder from your network.
Follow our internet experts at Allconnect® for more ways to boost home security, protect your online identity and enhance your high-speed internet experience.
Originally published 08/20/2015. Last updated 2/4/2019.