If you ever wondered how to protect yourself and your data from cyberattacks, this article is your answer.
Along with the many advantages of smart homes come a few risks that we must consider and prevent.
Here are 5 things to do that will help you avoid cyberattacks.
1. Keep your devices up to date
It’s essential to update your software regularly and do it on every device connected to the internet. These updates are mostly programmed to include new protection against cyberattacks.
Make it a habit or set reminders to update your software regularly.
You can also set these updates to be automatic, and thus you won’t have to worry about them so much. Most software now also warns you when you fail to update it.
2. A strong password is a must
This crucial step cannot be overstated. Passwords are the main form of protection for your devices, and creating unique and strong passwords is super important.
Don’t use words that hackers can guess, like your own name or your birthdate. Anyone with a Facebook account could find this information if you don’t conceal it.
Instead, choose a complex mix of numbers, special characters, and letters. Here are some useful examples:
Weak Passwords (never use them):
Strong passwords should be at least 8 to 12 characters long. Don’t use common words or easily guessable patterns either.
3. Turn on the firewall
Is the firewall on your router activated?
The firewall is a barrier that prevents hackers from accessing your network without authorization.
Activating it takes only a moment, and you must do it. You can even consider using an NGFW or next-generation firewall. This will grant you advanced protection, and it will prevent more issues.
If you don’t know how to activate your firewall, here are the easy steps to follow:
- Enter the settings in your router: You can do this by opening a tab in your browser or on your phone. You have to be connected to your home Wi-Fi. Then you can enter the IP address in the address bar. If you don’t know your IP, it’s written down on your router.
- Log in to your router’s admin website: Enter those credentials if you haven’t changed the predetermined user and password. These are on your router as well.
- Get to the firewall settings: Explore the website until you find the firewall settings, which might be labeled as “security” or “firewall.” It all depends on the interface of your router.
- Enable the firewall: Check the box to activate the firewall or toggle the switch to do so. Some of the more advanced routers have options like the protection level, and you can even customize some settings. Based on your needs, choose the protection that will suit you most.
- Save and apply the changes: press “Save” to keep the changes you’ve made, restart your router and navigate safely!
These steps are a generalization. Depending on what router you have, the process can vary a little bit.
The safest choice is to find the router’s manufacturer and search through their website to see if there are any particular specifications you need to consider.
4. Keep your Wi-Fi network secure
Is your Wi-Fi secured?
The first step would be to change the default password of the router to a better one, following the guidelines in our second tip in order to make it as strong as possible.
This alone will prevent any unauthorized access to your network.
Furthermore, if you use the WPA2 or a better security protocol, and if you stop broadcasting your network name, or SSID, your connection will not be as visible to hackers.
You can also create a guest network for when people visit you, thus keeping your main connection safe.
In case you’re uncertain if your network is using a higher security protocol, here’s what you can do:
- Check the settings of your router. Type up the IP address into your browser. You’ll find it printed on the router itself or on the user manual. Once you’ve accessed it, check the wireless security options in there.
- Select WPA2 or a higher protocol. WPA2 stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, and it’s one of the best available choices. WPA3 is an even higher security protocol.
- Save and apply these changes. This will restart the router, making you safer when navigating the internet.
Unfortunately, if you can’t set up the WPA2 protocol or a higher one, you’ll have to consider investing in a better router. Newer models have better security features.
If this is your case, you can ensure your future router has WPA3 compatibility, ensuring the best level of protection for your wireless internet connection.
5. Use a VPN
A virtual private network, or VPN, can be one of the smartest choices when it comes to your cybersecurity.
The main job of a VPN is to encrypt your connection to the internet. This way, hackers can’t access it, and your data is safe from spies. A VPN works for public and private networks equally.
Do your research and choose a trustworthy VPN service. It will guarantee strong encryption, and it will probably have a no-logs policy as well. It’s important to understand the key differences between a VPN vs. antivirus.
If you follow these simple steps and keep your stuff up to date, hackers will have a terrible time trying to attack you. Your network security won’t be compromised, and you’ll feel at ease in your smart home.
Remember that this is an ongoing practice requiring attention and timely action.
Stay informed, stay vigilant, and enjoy your home and the peace of mind that security provides.