Nearly every modern home has multiple devices that depend on the internet. But alarmingly, your laptops, PCs, tablets, and even gaming stations are constantly under threat. They provide cybercriminals with opportunities to invisibly bypass the strongest door locks you use to keep your home safe.
Fortunately, there are security measures you can take to prevent your money and identity from being stolen while using your at-home devices.
Best Practices for Keeping your At-Home Devices Safe from Cyber Threats
Updating Security Software
Installing reliable security software every year should be of prime importance. You can trust firewalls to be constantly on the alert for phishing, Trojans, malware, and much more. But it’s equally important to be aware of when your security expires. It needs to be updated a few days earlier to guarantee your devices are never left unguarded.
Alternatively, save yourself the worry of remembering and opt for the slightly more expensive automated download. New threats are continually being devised, but a trustworthy security company should be keeping pace to protect your devices with regular updates.
Whichever devices you prefer, it’s worth installing the latest operating systems and browsers. They’ll be equipped with up-to-date coding to make your devices efficient and streamlined. If you use an old device, it’s not always compatible with the latest software technology such as Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). This format includes advanced encryption, unlike its predecessor, Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). You can also consider including an additional network that can be used by visitors who may regularly stay at your home.
There are currently more than nine billion Wi-Fi devices in use worldwide. You probably have a Wi-Fi connection yourself, but it’s important to ensure you can use it in safety. When you purchase a Wi-Fi router, it usually has a password phrase such as “pre-fab metal garage” pre-installed by the manufacturer. Exchange it for a phrase that’s personal to you before you use the router.
Another detail to change is the manufacturer’s Service Set Identifier (SSID) or the alternative Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID). They are similar to IP addresses and contain thirty-two characters.
Internet Shopping and Banking
Who doesn’t enjoy the swift convenience of online shopping and banking at any time of day or night? But they are areas that need vital protection from hackers and cybercriminals.
Make sure your security software is trustworthy and well-known. When shopping online, always check the address of the shop. It should include “https” which uses a high level of encryption for transactions. When using internet banking, always ensure your passwords are at least twelve characters in length and include a random selection of upper and lower case letters, punctuation, and numbers. It is also worth changing your passwords regularly.
Approximately 94% of cybercrime incidents take place through e-mail scams. Fraudulent e-mails usually contain minute pieces of embedded code that can infect your entire computer system, while stealing sensitive data such as login passwords and personal identification. Many such e-mails impersonate well-known organizations and include attachments where the malware is hidden. The main hazard is phishing for your banking and personal details.
There are several types of phishing techniques including spear-phishing and whaling. Competent security can help keep your home devices safe, but it still pays to be vigilant, particularly if you work from home.
Communicating with friends and family through video conferencing is becoming as popular as with work colleagues. But hacking into webcams is now a massive security threat to your home devices. It’s possible for anyone with malicious intent to skilfully manipulate the camera angle to survey documents, credit cards, or driving licenses that may be near your computer.
They can also survey the room for possible burglaries or even more scary, simply watch you without you realizing. Always position your device so that it reveals as little as possible of your desk or room. Cover the webcam lens when not in use, or better still, disconnect it.
Working Remotely from Home
Working remotely is becoming an accepted practice, but it means your at-home devices need to be even more secure. Business of any kind is more of a target for cybercrime gangs as it promises even greater financial rewards.
Apart from phishing, ransomware, and a host of other techniques, they often instigate a hacking procedure known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). It interrupts internet connections and renders servers or devices unavailable. If you use devices supplied by your company, don’t use them for your leisure time. And never allow children or other people to use them.
Ensuring your computer devices are safe from cyber threats depends on excellent security, so invest in reliable software. Remember to adjust pre-set codes and phrases on Wi-Fi routers and regularly change passwords.
Cybercrime is constantly evolving, but by taking sensible measures to combat it, you’ll be able to use your at-home devices in safety.
Author Bio: This article was written by Eloise Tobler of Wisetek. Wisetek is global leader in IT Asset Disposition, Data Destruction, & IT Reuse.