By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Cyber attacks are on the rise, and your first line of defense in the fight against cybercrime is your own home network. After all, if you can’t protect yourself at home, what chance do you have elsewhere? This is why you need to maintain your home’s cybersecurity at all costs. Here are seven easy and effective cybersecurity tips to achieve this goal.
Install a VPN (virtual private network)
A VPN is designed to encrypt data traffic over a network in order to prevent unauthorized access to information. This makes VPNs an amazing tool for securing all your gadgets on your home’s internet network.
Install a VPN on your laptop, desktop computer, smartphone, and tablet and activate the software before going online. This will hide your IP address to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your sensitive data, ensuring your online sessions remain totally anonymous and your home network stays secure.
Lock your devices
Whether there’s a delivery guy dropping off food or a plumber fixing your kitchen sink, sometimes you can’t avoid having strangers in your home—no matter how private you are.
This is why you should make it a point to lock all your devices with a password or PIN. While it won’t stop a stranger from stealing your tablet or smartphone, it does prevent them from gaining unauthorized access to all the personal information within the device.
Change the name of your Wi-Fi network
Every router has certain weaknesses, so keeping your Wi-Fi network’s default name could help cybercriminals find a way into your system. With the generic name given by your ISP, it’s far easier for them to identify the model and manufacturer of your router and exploit any known flaws for that specific make.
Hide these security vulnerabilities by changing your home network’s name. It’s also important that you don’t include any personal information by naming your network something like “John’s Wi-Fi at Apartment A1.”
Change your network’s default password
All wireless routers have default login credentials because they’re needed when setting up the network. Hackers will find these far easier to guess, so you need to use a very strong password for your home network.
When creating a password, aim for at least 20 characters and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t write it down anywhere, either. It might be a challenge to remember your password at first, but you’ll get used to it.
Change your network’s administrator credentials
A lot of manufacturers simply use the words “admin” and “password” as the username and password for their router’s admin page, which is easy for anyone—let alone skilled hackers—to guess.
If you haven’t already done so, change your router’s administrator login credentials, and make sure to not use the same password you used for the Wi-Fi network itself.
Place your router in a secure position
Router positioning affects not only the signal strength but network security as well. When your router is placed in the middle of the house (vertically and horizontally), you avoid having the signal spill over to areas outside your house where it can be used by cybercriminals for their malicious ends.
Turn off your Wi-Fi when it’s not in use
A lot of people leave their Wi-Fi on 24/7, even when they’re not at home. Don’t make the same mistake. Leaving your Wi-Fi on at all times provides more opportunities for hackers to break into your network. It also adds to your utility bills, so why not just save yourself the trouble and turn it off when you go out? It may be a hassle, but you can’t put a price on cybersecurity.
For tips on how to protect your online privacy, check out our in-depth guide. And to join the 550 million people around the world who protect their devices for free using Hotspot Shield VPN, download it here.