Three easy steps to improve home cybersecurity

VPN connection

The home environment has changed drastically during the last century. Modernisation, urbanisation, and technology have impacted so much where we live, it’s sometimes hard to comprehend the difference.

Who would’ve thought a decade or two ago, that we could control our homes via the Internet? IoT devices became so common, and it sure brings comfort to our lives. But it also poses new challenges – securing those devices. Hackers can get access to your baby cameras, break the security systems and cause real damage, all without stepping a foot into your house.

We wrote how Covid-19 became a massive threat to businesses. But the problem extends to home security as well. Since most of us are working from home, cybercriminals can target home networks in hopes to steal valuable business data.

That’s why we decided to provide three easy steps that each one of us can implement to secure our homes. We’ll start with router security, then talk about encryption services and password managers. Let’s jump in!

Home network router security

The router is your gateway to the Internet. In simple words, it takes all the data packets from your devices and sends them to the Internet. And vice versa, data first goes through your router and then to destination devices.

Since this is such an essential part of Internet structure, it’s mandatory to take additional steps to secure it. After all, if a cybercriminal gets access to what is going on on your router, they can start monitoring the information. Extracting confidential banking details and emptying the bank account is one of the worst scenarios that happens too often.

First of all, a router must be protected behind a password. Most routers come with manufacturer-issued passwords, but these aren’t necessarily the best. They could’ve leaked somewhere or simply are not complex enough. So search online your router model and how to change its password to a stronger and better one! The same applies to Wi-Fi network security.

Another important, yet frequently overlooked part is updates. Too many users tend to click on “update later” and forget all about it. But these updates usually have security fixes, and if your router is not updated to the latest standard, it can still be exploited. Tech companies are working fast to notice bugs in their code and fix them before something terrible happens, and you should apply those fixes the moment they’re out.

Now let’s talk about encryption services and how they can be used to further buff up your home network safety.

Setting up a VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it’s a privacy protection oriented cybersecurity software. A VPN will encrypt all of your online data-flow and obfuscate your original IP address to prevent online tracking.

Each home network has a unique IP address, which is linked to its geographical location. And cybercriminals can exploit that, following your online activities and then knowing where you live – it’s a lot of information to give away.

By obfuscating IP addresses, you increase online anonymity. Furthermore, you can use a VPN to bypass geographical restrictions. If there’s some content that’s not available in your region – be it YouTube or Netflix – you can change your IP address to a different area and unlock it.

A VPN can be set up directly on a router to secure all of the data-flow with additional encryption and privacy protection features. But be sure to have a fast router that supports VPN applications, and subscribe to a VPN service that is compatible with your router model.

Safe password management

You’d be surprised how many people still use “qwerty” or “password123” to secure their accounts. Needless to say, this is insufficient, and cybercriminals are already launching various cyberattacks to crack weak passwords and steal valuable information.

These days we use so many online services that having a different and lengthy password for each one is a challenging task.

Luckily, there are password managers to help. They allow having a unique password for all of your services and store them in an encrypted vault. Advanced password managers like NordPass have zero-knowledge architecture, which means that you, and only you, can access your passwords. Not even password manager service providers can see them, which makes your most personal data genuinely confidential.

These are simple beginners steps towards online privacy and security, but researches reveal that even this is enough to protect yourself against most common cyber attacks.

So take care of your passwords, update your systems, and use additional cybersecurity software. But most importantly, stay safe!