With stories of hackers, identity theft, and stolen data using computers in the news a lot in recent years, more people are wondering what they need to do to secure their Internet connections from invaders. The introduction of Internet of Things devices makes this all the more imperative, since, while our smart devices make our lives easier, they also have vulnerabilities that can be exploited if homeowners are not careful. Malicious actors have used thermostats to rob casinos, or taken over hundreds of thousands of devices to direct their computing power toward nefarious endeavors.
Protecting against things like this is very simple, however. Online security doesn’t have to be a hassle if you just know a few things about your network, from your Internet connection to your smart TV to your kids’ cell phones. Taking a little bit of time to understand how to secure your home can save you tons of trouble in the long run, and it could all be avoided by taking some simple precautions and maintaining your set of protections. Here is a short primer that should get you started on your home’s Internet security.
Some of the devices that are on your home network are obvious, and some might surprise you. We have so many devices around our homes that we don’t associate some of them with the Internet. Of course our computers and laptops are on our home networks because they connect directly to the Internet. However, a major complement to the Internet in today’s world is a Wi-Fi network, and this opens up all sorts of vulnerabilities that can be exploited. One of them is that Wi-Fi is like an invisible field, and anyone within that field can use it if they have access. This means neighbors and even random passersby can use your connection if it’s not protected, which can slow down the speed on your own activities and cost you data, if that is a factor.
Some devices that connect to our Internet service through a wireless router include mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets, video game consoles, office machinery such as printers and scanners, and laptop computers. Smart home devices, such as light bulbs, thermostats, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, and doorbell cameras also use your home’s Wi-Fi to stay connected to the network.
Not all of these items are vulnerable to outside invaders, but many of them can provide a back door for unwanted intruders to get into your network.
When we think of hackers, we think of shady computer geeks stealing millions of dollars or tons of information using malicious programs on their computers. We think of nefarious actors inserting computer viruses into major infrastructure to make it crash and stop working properly. While these are the types of hackers whose exploits often make the news, some hacking is less obvious and not even destructive. Hackers have worked their way into baby monitors to say sinister things to the baby, or have taken over entire networks to play pranks on companies or individuals. Your next door neighbor could be hacking you right now by taking advantage of your unprotected Wi-Fi.
The main reasons to protect your network are:
Now that we’ve discussed the dangers that could come along if you don’t protect your network, let’s talk about how to do it. Think of network protection like car insurance or home security: you hope you won’t need it, but it’s there to protect you in case you do. It doesn’t take very long to set up basic protection, or you can look into more advanced options.
In fact, your best protection would be a multi-layered suite of different apps and programs to protect yourself from various angles. This way, you can be secure in the knowledge that online intruders won’t bypass one security measure, because you have another in place to block them.
Having great Internet is also about having secure Internet, so you can protect yourself and your family from hackers and intruders exploiting your connection for their own personal gain. To find out what providers are available near you, what their packages and rates are, and what other features they offer, just tell us your zip code. We’ll let you compare everyone available so you can choose a plan – and Internet security – that is right for you.