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Think of how much sensitive data passes through your home internet network on a daily basis. Are you concerned about your home network’s digital security? Chances are good that you regularly access things like your bank account, credit card and social security number, and if your network is ever compromised, this important personal data could be at risk.
Given that most modern households have a number of internet-connected devices — Cisco estimated there will be 13.6 networked devices per person in the U.S. by 2023 — it’s really no surprise that digital security is an increasingly important priority for many people.
In the same way that a traditional home security system protects your family from intruders and other emergencies, a digital security system protects your home’s internet network and connected devices.
You might be wondering if online attacks are a threat to you, specifically. According to Security Magazine, hackers attack computers every 39 seconds, and security firm F-Secure found that the second half of 2019 to be an “unprecedented year for cyber attacks” more than 2.8 billion attacks on smart devices in that period alone. So the answer is yes.
What happens if one of your devices is compromised? Attackers often install malware or other harmful software onto devices, allowing them to access sensitive data like your passwords or credit card numbers. Dealing with stolen data can be a hassle, and you might not always recoup your loss, so preventing cyber attacks is always your best bet.
Securing your home’s digital network is important for households of all sizes. Parents can enable controls on their kids’ devices, remote workers can set up password management systems to secure their work email accounts and homeowners can establish data privacy settings for their smart home devices.
In fact, you don’t need to hire a professional to secure your home network. Many of the vulnerabilities people experience can be remedied with a few simple steps.
The 2019 Avast Smart Home Security Report found that among homes with a cyber vulnerability, 69% are due to weak credentials. If your usernames and/or passwords are generic — such as “12345” — your devices are more vulnerable to brute-force attacks, where hackers simply submit a large number of passwords in hopes of guessing correctly.
The first step in remedying this weakness is to change the admin username on your router and other devices — don’t leave it as the preset factory default configuration — change all default usernames and passwords. Additionally, you’ll want to choose strong, unique passwords for each and every device on your network. The best passwords are long (think 10 characters or more), aren’t dictionary words and include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
Many smart devices offer additional security features, such as two-step authentication, but it’s up to you to activate them. Many people don’t use these features because it can take time to set up, but once you enable your security features, signing in will be a breeze, and it’ll be harder for attackers to force their way in.
Avast also noted that 31% of vulnerable devices aren’t current on software updates. Software patches often provide the latest security measures, and if you’re not keeping up with them, attackers can exploit the weak points of your devices. Be sure to click “install now” as soon as the software update pops up on your computer, tablet, phone or streaming device.
There are also a number of products that can help secure home networks and smart devices. For instance, Dojo protects all your connected home devices from hacks, malware, viruses and other security threats, alerting you to any suspicious activity.
Another option is the Bitdefender BOX, which provides complete protection for computers, phones, smart devices and more. It continuously scans for network flaws and blocks any intrusion attempts, and it also provides advanced parental controls that let you limit your children’s internet usage.
Because of the increase in online attacks over the past several years, digital security has become a key component of overall home security initiatives. When you take proper preventive measures, you can protect your network — and your family’s data — from attackers.