We buy new smart devices to be more comfortable at home and enjoy our house more than ever. There’s no doubt that they’re really practical: They suck up dust from the floor, turn on the heating with just a voice command, let us listen to Spotify throughout the house, and help us keep an eye on our pets when we’re away. However, each new device that we connect to our router poses an added risk to the security of our network, a network through which critical data such as our credit card numbers, our essential passwords, or emails and personal chats also pass.
Protecting our network is, therefore, an increasingly critical need, especially if we consider that the economic losses derived from hacking our systems can be catastrophic and that cyberattacks use increasingly sophisticated methods to try to access our data. That is why we show below some of the critical security measures you should implement in your network to protect all the data you send and receive through it.
The first step you should do as soon as you connect your router to the internet for the first time is to change its password and the name of your network. This is because most routers have default network names and passwords that can be vulnerable to a cyber attack. Also, the router installer has access to this password during installation and could maliciously leak it to third parties. Modifying this data is one of the most important steps to protect your digital information and keep the devices in your home safe.
All the information you send or receive online passes through the servers of your internet provider, and consequently, if a vulnerability occurs in them, your private data may be exposed. That is why millions of people use a VPN for computers and smartphones that protects their connection when browsing. However, what you may not know is that you can also install a VPN on your router to protect the rest of the internet-enabled devices in your home. Then install your VPN on your router to prevent hackers from accessing your security cameras and microphones. Some VPN providers even offer additional features. For example, NordVPN has a tool called meshnet. It’s a feature that connects devices in a way that allows secure, encrypted communication
Even if your router, cameras, and virtual assistants work properly, they may have critical vulnerabilities that allow attackers to access them easily and steal your private data. Regularly update the firmware of your devices to ensure you have the most up-to-date version so that you can enjoy a safer browsing experience without any known backdoors. If you don’t, an experienced hacker can take advantage of these holes in the security of your router or any other device and hijack your passwords or payment details.
One of the best ways to prevent your network from being hacked is to make it less visible. If you hide the SSID of your network, people who live around you or pass by your house will not be able to see your Wi-Fi network name when they are looking for networks to connect to, so the only way to access yours will be by manually typing this SSID. In this way, you will considerably reduce the risk of being hacked since criminals always look for the easiest way to carry out a cyber attack.
People who visit your home and connect to your network usually store your Wi-Fi password on their smartphone without knowing it. This way, their phone will automatically connect to your network when they revisit you. This can be convenient, but even if these people are entirely trustworthy, a malware infection on their devices can leak your Wi-Fi network keys, ending up in the hands of hackers. Setting up a guest network can prevent this problem, as even if its keys are leaked, you can keep it offline most of the time, thus preventing any kind of leak.