Tips for protecting your identity while surfing the Web using a high-speed Internet connection
The world has grown so digital that the lines between home security and Internet security are beginning to blur. Protecting your loved ones and assets require you to stay aware of threats to your identity and intrusive access to automated devices inside your home. 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 far more problematic than explaining a few extra Internet rules to your kids.The following strategies can help you develop a better home security strategy when it comes to hackers and identity thieves.
“Develop a strategy to deal with hackers and identity thieves.”
Update your router’s defenses
The first step to take when improving digital home security is to make your wireless network more secure. After all, more and more devices in the home have become automated and are subsequently accessible by way of your router. For example, if the door locks are capable of being controlled remotely over the Internet, then an intruder who gains access to your home network can also exploit this knowledge to compromise your home’s security. That’s why it makes so much sense to properly secure your wireless router and take additional practical steps to protect yourself from online threats.
First and foremost, you should encrypt 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. Next, you can set your router to filter MAC addresses, preventing all but registered devices from being recognized by the network. PC Magazine recommends you turn off your network’s broadcasting function. This will require you to enter the device of your network by name when you add new devices, but will also make your less visible to those searching for networks to crack.
Take care before making digital purchases
Cyber criminals don’t need to be within range of your wireless network to compromise your personal security and gain access to your identity. For example, public Wi-Fi networks in restaurants and other crowded public places is the last place you want to make an online transaction on your smartphone. Such networks are easy prey for a savvy hacker looking to score valuable information from anyone making transactions nearby. Even a simple purchase could reveal credit card information and a user’s home address.
For that matter, take care making credit card purchases while logged on to friend’s network or the Wi-Fi at work. There’s no telling what kind of security measures are protecting the signal or who may already be monitoring traffic across the network. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your bank account and credit score.
Watch what you and your family 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 percent sure of who is able to view what you say and post online. 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.
Be sure to 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.
Monitor the source of traffic on your Wi-Fi network
At the end of the day, the only 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 numerous 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.