It’s a message that cannot be stated too often: In the Internet Era, your personal information is not safe.
Through many different means, hackers can gain access to a person’s home network — and, thereby, a person’s most sensitive data, including credit card and social security numbers. One tactic is “phishing” emails that ask for personal information (the famous “Nigerian Prince” being this method’s preeminent example). Hackers also entice people to download malware, a coded software used to steal data. Sometimes hackers gain access through programs that take advantage of bugs in Wi-Fi routers or devices.
Here are six simple ways to improve your cybersecurity:
- Avoid buying just-released devices. New devices might contain bugs that the developers are not yet aware of. Hackers might find them first.
- Consider buying devices that do not connect to a home network. Alternatively, create a network for these devices separate from computers with personal information. “Internet of Things” devices are targets for hackers. Smart TVs are considered by professionals to be easy targets.
- Change your router log-in information. Some routers come with default passcodes that can be hacked with relative ease.
- Update software and firmware. Staying current with updates to patch up bugs and improve security is an easy way to keep your network safe.
- Change your Wi-Fi name. Default names may expose what type of router you have, letting hackers know the potential weak points connected to that model.
- Turn off your network when it is not in use.
Here are three more ways to improve cybersecurity that are a little more complicated:
- If you can, change your IP address on your router or set your IP address as the only one with access to your router.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), especially when on public Wi-Fi. Using a VPN will encrypt your information preventing hackers from viewing it on less secure Wi-Fi networks.
- Change your Wi-Fi security to WPA2. WPA2 scrambles your data, making it difficult for hackers to read. It also allows you to change the network password.