It’s 2021, and while there may be a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, now is not the time to let our guard down in cyberspace. The first days of the pandemic has seen a significant increase in the number of spam emails and spoofing attacks linked to COVID-19, and con artists are still trying harder than ever to take advantage of the fear, anxiety and anger of the people around their situation.
Don’t be the victim of a cyberattack. Strengthen the security of your network, know where your security weaknesses lie, and use good password hygiene. Here are the strategies you need to keep your network and devices secure in 2021.
1) Use good password hygiene
The most important thing you can do to protect your online identity is to use good password hygiene. It means to use a strong and unique password for each of your online accounts. Use a password manager to easily generate strong passwords and keep track of your login information for your different accounts and apps – this way you only have to remember one password, but you can still secure all your accounts. A password manager helps you avoid “password spray”, a type of attack in which hackers try to access your account using a common password, such as “password,” for example. And, if a hacker manages to gain access to one of your accounts, then they will not have access to all of your accounts because you will be using a unique password for each.
2) Understand the risks you face
Do you know how to spot a Phishing? If you were targeted by a social engineering attack, would you be able to identify it? What are the most common malware attacks and phishing scams right now? Knowledge is power, and you should take the time to arm yourself regularly. Know the most likely strategies hackers and crooks use to try to part with your money. Keeping up to date with cybersecurity news will help keep security front and center, so you’re less likely to fall for the trap, even by mistake.
3) Install a home network security station
You probably think you know who is currently connected to your home network, but do you really know? Hackers could connect to your network without even realizing it.
A home network security station is one of the best home network security solutions available in the market today. Connect a home network security station, and you can monitor devices that connect to your network (and disconnect them remotely if necessary), set up comprehensive parental controls, filter your email against spam, and more. Unless you and everyone who lives with you are cybersecurity professionals, you need a home security solution to automate your home network security.
4) Secure your router and SSID
If you haven’t already done so, you need to change your router’s administrator credentials. Simply navigate to your router’s IP address and enter the username and password which should be listed in your user manual or other documents that came with the router. If you no longer have the user manual, you can search for it online, or just search on Google for the brand name and model number of your router and the words “default password”.
Once you have accessed your router’s admin dashboard, navigate to the Wireless Security tab and make sure your wifi encryption protocol is set to WPA2 or, if you have it, WPA3. Then change your router’s administrator password and put the new one somewhere where you won’t lose it.
Next, you’ll want to change your home network ID, or SSID, from the default to something that doesn’t contain any personal information that could help hackers answer your security questions. Change the default password to a strong, unique password. For added security, you can hide the network so that only devices that have already connected to it can find it. New devices won’t be able to find the network unless you give their owners the new secret network name.
5) Be careful with IoT devices
Internet of Things (IoT) devices are extremely vulnerable to hacking, so you should think twice before filling your home with connected smart devices. The more things you have connected to your network, the more possible entry points you create for hackers, and connecting an IoT device to your network is pretty much like leaving your backdoor open all the time.
You can always choose not to let a device connect to the network. Or you can do the digital equivalent of hiding a key somewhere outside. Create a separate guest network to separate your vulnerable IoT devices from the same network where you use your phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices with sensitive information. That way, if one or more of your IoT devices gets hacked, the criminals still won’t be able to do anything right.
With a new year should come a renewed vigilance against cyber attacks and hackers. Make home network security a top priority, and you won’t have to waste time worrying about protecting your family from cybercrime.