At one time, a personal computer or a laptop was pretty much the only internet-connected thing likely to be found in a typical home. These days, however, it’s increasingly common for the average home to house an assortment of devices that hook up to some type of internet connection, including wireless ones that tap into a home internet network. In fact, the list of internet-linked things in a typical home today can include phones, tablets, gaming systems, TVs, appliances, baby monitors, and thermostats. This is why it’s equally essential to make an effort to secure your home internet network. The steps you can take to accomplish this goal are highlighted below.
Update Operating Systems for All Devices
While newer internet-connected devices likely have the latest operating systems, this may not be the case for older laptops, tablets, or PCs also using your home network. Get started with securing your home internet network by checking any devices that might have outdated or older operating systems – including any mobile devices using your network that may need updated. If you find any older OSs, replace them with current versions. Newer operating systems tend to have updated security features.
Secure the Wireless Router You Use for Your Home
The heart of a home internet is a wireless router, which directs connections to devices that access your network. Unfortunately, this internet access point could also leave your connection vulnerable, especially if it’s not secure. Unsecure wireless routers could, for instance, be used to access your connection for free and potentially utilize your network for questionable or outright criminal activities. Make your wireless router more secure by:
• Changing the name of your router: It’s important to do this so you’re not relying on the default ID provided by the manufacturer.
• Changing your router’s preset password: It’s easier for hackers to guess default passwords and more difficult for personalized ones to be figured out. Use a strong password that’s at least 12 characters long. You can call your internet provider technical support to help you or guide you on resetting your router’s password.
• Exploring available security options: With your router’s security options, go with WPA2 or WPA instead of WEP, which isn’t as secure.
• Using a firewall: A firewall is an extra layer of protection that can boost the security of your home internet network. It’s usually already installed, but the feature may still need to be turned on.
Also, if you regularly have guests in your home who may need to access your home’s internet network, see if your router has a guest password option. Using this option also eliminates the need to give out your regular password to guests, which further boosts your network’s level of security.
Update Security Software
Protect your home network from viruses, malware, and other not-so-pleasant things by updating any security software you’re using periodically. When possible, set up reminders or automatic updates.
Make Sure Anything Connected to Your Network Is Protected
As mentioned above, many things are internet-connected these days, so it’s easy to overlook some of the devices that access your home’s internet signal. Be especially mindful of gaming systems and any new smartphones or other newer devices members of your household may purchase.
Scan Things You Need to Plug In
USBs and any other devices that can be plugged into something else connected to the internet can also be affected by viruses. This is why it’s a good idea to get into the habit of scanning anything you plug into a device in your home.
Only Enter Personal Info on Secure Sites
Look for the little security icon in your browser bar or other indications of security before entering personal information online. Another way to identify secure websites is to look for “https” at the beginning of the web address.
One more thing you can do to secure your home internet network is to back up whatever you have on your various devices, especially with laptops, PC, and phones. Make copies of all your digital information on a regular basis as a “just in case” measure should there be any issues or a need to retrieve anything that may be lost.