With the rapid increase in internet usage, our lives have become increasingly dependent on digital devices and online services. Unfortunately, this has led to a growth in cyberattacks, affecting individuals and organizations.
Here are some ways to improve your home internet security:
- Connect IoT devices to a guest network.
- Disable remote access, WPS, and UPnP.
- Upgrade to the WPA3 Wifi security protocol.
- Change the router’s default settings.
- Apply the principle of least privilege.
- Enable automatic updates.
- Use Chrome with pop-ups blocked.
- Adopt healthy surfing habits.
This article will guide you on improving your home internet security to keep online threats at bay.
Tips to Improve Your Home Internet Security
Safeguarding your cyber activities is the first step to keeping your home network’s security lockdown. Here are some methods which will aid you can do this:
Connecting IoT Devices to a Guest Network
IoT devices, such as smart speakers, security cameras, smart light bulbs, and thermostats, can expose vulnerabilities in your home network. Third-party devices like these often have weaker security protocols when compared to the likes of your mobile phone or PC.
To mitigate this risk, create a separate guest network for these devices. Doing so will ensure that even if a hacker gains access to your IoT devices, they cannot access your primary network where your sensitive data is stored. A study conducted by F-Secure found that 87% of users have not segmented their home network, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
Turn Off Remote Access
Remote access is the feature that allows users to control their devices and access data from a different location. For example, think of how to operate smart bulbs and refrigerators while away from home.
Remote access can be convenient, but hackers can also exploit it to gain unauthorized entry into your devices. Pitfalls of an’ always-on’ remote access include:
- Potential unauthorized access by hackers
- Increased vulnerability to cyberattacks
- Risk of data breaches and privacy compromises
To prevent this, disable remote access on your devices and router when not in use. You can navigate to the remote access feature in your mobile device or computer and toggle it off. As for routers, you first need to access the admin page and then enter the default username and password, which can be found online for every model number.
Then, select’ disable’ and go into remote access settings/remote management.
Disable WPS and Universal Plug
WPS (wifi Protected Setup) and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) are features designed to simplify connecting devices to your network. However, they can also introduce security vulnerabilities.
For instance, if you are an iPhone user, you might have noticed how your AirPods connect to your device immediately after activation. This is also true for some mobile phones’ trusted wifi networks and other devices.
Just like remote access, while this feature is also convenient, it does come at a price. UPnP lacks built-in authentication and can expose your network to security vulnerabilities. Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain control over your devices or conduct malicious activities on your network.
Therefore be sure to disable WPS and Universal Plug.
Upgrade From WPA2 to WPA3
According to a 2020 study by WatchGuard Technologies, 50% of wifi networks still use outdated security protocols, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. WPA3 is the latest wifi security protocol and offers enhanced encryption and security features compared to WPA2.
Some other benefits of upgrading include:
- Stronger encryption: WPA3 uses 192-bit encryption, providing higher security and making it more difficult for attackers to crack.
- Improved password protection: WPA3 employs Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), which protects against offline dictionary attacks, a common vulnerability in WPA2. SAE ensures the network remains secure, even if users choose weak passwords.
- Forward secrecy: If an attacker captures encrypted data and later obtains the password, they cannot decrypt the previously captured data. This feature protects your past data transmissions even if your password is compromised.
Upgrading your router to WPA3 can better protect your network from cyberattacks.
Change Your Router’s Default Settings
Hackers often target routers with default settings, as they are easier to exploit. To strengthen your network security:
- Change the default admin username.
- Change the default password and put in an alphanumeric key.
- Next, change the SSID (network name).
- Additionally, ensure you use strong, unique passwords for your router and wifi networks.
Use the Principle of Least Privilege
The principle of least privilege involves granting users the minimum level of access necessary to perform their tasks. By implementing this principle, you can reduce the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information. For example, create separate user accounts for each family member and restrict administrator privileges to the primary user.
Imagine you have a home with several rooms, each containing valuable items or sensitive information. Instead of giving every family member a master key that unlocks all rooms, you provide them with keys that only unlock the rooms they need to access for their specific tasks or responsibilities.
Enable Automatic Updates
Software updates often include critical security patches. You can protect your network from newly discovered vulnerabilities by enabling automatic updates for your router, devices, and applications.
Many people often avoid updates due to stability concerns, dislike of new features, or simply because they are too lazy to do it, but is this really worth compromising your security? Definitely not!
Use Chrome with Pop-ups Blocked
Pop-ups can be annoying and may contain malicious links or downloads. However, by using Google Chrome with blocked pop-ups, you can reduce the risk of accidentally clicking on malicious content. In 2021, Google reported that Chrome blocked 3.2 billion malicious ads and saved users from visiting dangerous sites 20 million times per day.
Additionally, if you still get redirected to an unknown web link, avoid clicking on the page anywhere and turn off auto-downloads. Finally, only use credible or official sources when installing a .apk or .zip file.
Use Healthy Surfing Processes
Adopt safe online habits to protect your network and devices from threats. For example, avoid clicking on spam emails, use strong and unique passwords for your accounts, and be cautious when downloading files from unknown sources.
In conclusion, improving your home internet security is crucial in today’s digitally connected world. By implementing the tips and strategies discussed in this blog, you can significantly reduce the risk of cyberattacks and protect your sensitive data.
Thanks for reading.