It’s okay to be a little paranoid. Every time you add another device to your home network, you are increasing your risk. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are the four things you should manage to have cybersecurity at home.
You need to know what you have and what they do and here’s what we mean: take an inventory of your connected devices and understand which ones are using location. Any time you’re providing location details, you increase your risk. You should be aware of which ones are sharing and where you take them – beyond your home. You’ll also want to educate the family about using free wi-fi. It’s one of the most dangerous behaviors anyone can do because it’s an easy target for criminals.
Laptops and Computers
Use anti-virus for your computers – they typically ship with something you can try from McAfee or Symantec or similar. There are a lot of choices. Microsoft is also improving its approach to security and you’ll want to make sure their services are turned on for Windows machines. Since Apple manufactures their hardware, their security is integrated. That said, anti-virus is still a good idea for Macs.
Home Wireless Networks
This one is a no brainer. If you are using a router, make sure you set a password. We encourage you to choose a password that isn’t Password or Admin or LetMeIn1! (see the section on passwords below). It’s fine to have guest access and that’s a good way to go. It means folks can get on your network but they are not able to see what you’re doing on the password protected network you typically use.
Free Wireless Networks
These are most likely to be a family vulnerability and here’s why: people treat free wi-fi like secure wi-fi by doing banking, shopping and sending documents. At hotels or Starbucks, folks hop online and do everything they do at home. But that’s incredibly risky. You can protect everyone’s time on free wi-fi if you use a virtual private network (VPN). [And as it happens, we have one that can protect all your devices for just flat rate.] If your family’s devices are protected by a VPN, you don’t have to worry about them bringing bad stuff home and contaminating your home network.
Once you get these things reeled in, there are other things to keep track of like your password strategy, which can get tricky if you include family members – especially your parents! And the corollary to this is a back-up strategy, which is much easier now with Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive.