Safe and Secure: Home Network Security
Home network security as defined by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team refers to the protection of a network that connects devices to each other and to the internet within a home. With technology becoming more and more prevalent in our daily lives, it becomes increasingly important to protect against security risks. This article hopes to better your understanding of the risks associated with being connected to the internet as well as the importance of properly securing your home networks and systems.
Most people are under the assumption that their home network will never be attacked. This is a very common misconception for a couple of reasons. Home users believe their network is not big enough to be at risk of a cyber attack, and they think the devices they are provided by companies such as Comcast and Verizon are plenty secure. This line of thought is wrong and can be costly because attacks can occur to any network connected to the internet no matter the size, and the devices you are provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are preconfigured with factory issued settings such as default usernames and passwords that create opportunities for cyberattackers to gain unauthorized access to information, amongst other problems.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent these types of problems. By improving the security of your home network, you can significantly reduce the chances of being successfully attacked. The list below are ways to improve the security of your home network.
- Regularly update software as the updates often include critical patches and security fixes for the most recent threats and vulnerabilities
- Remove/uninstall unnecessary services and software to reduce security holes on a device’s system
NOTE: This is especially important on new computers as they are often pre-installed with many software and application trial versions
- Adjust factory default configurations on software and hardware because the configuration settings are created to be user-friendly and are not geared towards security
- Install up-to-date antivirus software and make sure to enable automatic virus definition updates
- Install a network firewall to block malicious traffic from entering your home network and alert you to any potential dangerous network activity
- Install firewalls on network devices to inspect and filter a computer’s inbound and outbound network traffic
- Back up your data on a regular basis to minimize the impact if your data is lost, corrupted, infected, or stolen
- Enable wireless security by:
- Using the strongest encryption protocol available
- Changing the router’s default administrator password
- Changing the default SSID (often referred to as the network name)
- Disabling WPS (WiFi Protected Setup)
- Reducing wireless signal strength
- Turning the network off when not being used
- Disabling UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) when not needed
- Upgrading firmware
- Disabling remote management
- Monitoring for unknown device connections
- Familiarize yourself with the most common elements of a phishing attack
- Create strong passwords by:
- Making the password long and complex
- Creating a unique password for each account
- Never use personal information within the password
For more information about home network security, please visit the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team website.