Network Security is becoming more and more important. Just about everything connects to the internet now: computers, phones, tvs, cars, doorbells, microwaves, even the kitchen sink. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. You can get smart home devices for doorbells, microwaves, and kitchen sinks. Network security is incredibly important now that a network can potentially connect to everything in your home except your brain (give it a few decades, I’m sure someone will find a way). If you want your home to be secure, then you need to have strong passwords and secure network settings. Rapture Audio, an expert in smart home devices in Cache Valley, Utah, suggested that there are some critical items you need to be sure have strong passwords for good network security.
1. The Modem
Your modem is the first thing people think of when it comes to network security and with good reason. It’s the main access point connecting your house to the internet. Your modem comes with a default password and username. Those things get hacked all the time, so the first thing you want to do is change the password and username. Changing the username to something unique is a good way to throw off casual attempts to hack your network. It adds an extra layer of guesswork – and a surprising amount of casual hacks are done by guesswork – and that can keep a lot of people out. A good, strong password completes the lockdown.
2. The Router
People forget that the router and the modem are different. The modem brings the internet into your home. If you only have one computer and no smart devices, you could plug your modem directly into your computer and avoid a lot of problems, but with the Internet of Things being, well, a thing, a simple modem isn’t enough. To get a wireless network, you need a router. A router directs data packets to the different devices on the network, keeping everything connected. The router has a password just the same as your modem and it should be changed, too. The default passwords get leaked online all the time, so having a default password is just asking someone to hack you.
3. Your Computer
I’m often surprised by how often I visit a friend’s house and they log onto the computer without entering a password. Not so much anymore, actually, people are becoming more computer savvy. Still, there are some people who don’t put password protection on their computers. This is bad. First, if someone gets their hands on your computer, they can access all your other devices with it. Secondly, if someone gets access to your router or WiFi, they can set up wireless sharing to get access to your computer if it isn’t also password protected. Every user you put on your computer should have its own strong password.
4. Your Smart Home Devices
All of your smart home devices can be accessed from your wireless network, which makes them hackable. If they connect to your smart phones, people can potentially access them from their phones as well. Putting a strong password on your smart devices will reduce the risks. Note that the IoT is pretty new and doesn’t yet have a lot of regulations around it. As a result, a lot of smart device brands don’t have any built in security and an app password is going to be the only protection you get on them. When purchasing smart devices for your home, be sure to ask about the security features on them so you know what the risks are.
Bonus Network Security Tips!
Passwords are only one step network security. There are many additional actions you can take to keep your network secure. Keeping all your hardware up to date is an important one. As time goes on, people discover new security vulnerabilities in hardware and software, so manufactures provide updates to patch those vulnerabilities out. Be sure you have encryption options enabled on your modem. WPA2 is the strongest encryption you can get for modern devices, though some older ones don’t have this option. If they don’t have the option, you should consider upgrading the new hardware.
Disabling settings you don’t need on your router – especially the remote management feature – can take access options away from people attempting to break into your system. You can also limit access by not allowing any devices on your network unless you specifically allow them. There are sometimes ways around this, but the extra feature can still protect you. Once you get all the settings correct, you can log out as administrator from the router to make it even harder for hackers to access it.
Don’t forget you have more security options than just passwords for your computer and smart devices, too. Two-factor identification is an incredibly effective means of discouraging hackers, since it means they have to get access to your phone to view security confirmation codes if they want to hack your devices. Antivirus, antispyware, and a good firewall are also all important methods of keeping your computer secure. If you want to go all out, you can get additional security by having a VPN (Virtual Private Network), or even having a secondary network specifically for smart devices to keep their security vulnerabilities from giving anyone access to the rest of your devices.
There are many good options for network security and the more you have, the better your chances of not being hacked. Make sure you know what your options are and what are the best choices to make. You wouldn’t leave your front door wide-open, so don’t do the same for your home network!