The internet has become a basic necessity of our life. Every home is equipped with the wireless router to connect various devices like smartphones, tablets, fitness wear, and home IoTs to the internet This interconnectedness provides the comfort of operating devices from anywhere, anytime this increases the attack vector by providing the breeding ground for cyber crimes.
The danger of home networks weaknesses is not limited to stealing your personal data but can be used for attacking your business network, or national critical infrastructure to create a war like situations. Home appliances can be used as BOTs to take part in DYN kind of DDoS attack where the VCRs and webcams were used for launching a massive DDOS attack.
In the ancient book “The Art of War” Sun Tzu says
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
The time has come to look into our home network for vulnerable areas and take action to be safe.
In this article, we will look into the important steps to improve your home network security.
The first and most important question we need ask ourselves is
“When is the last time you change the password of your wireless router?”
The wireless router is the entry point of internet into our home, this the weakest link and most of the time ignored after the installation.
Following are the simple tips that can help to improve the security of your home router.
- Change the name of your router – The routers come with the default ID which is called as “Service Set Identifier (SSID)” or “Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID)”. Change this to a unique identifier which cannot be guessed easily by the hackers.
- Change the Default Password – Routers come with default admin password and most of the time service providers who install the routers avoid to change for their convenience. The hackers take the advantage of this. It is recommended that not only you change the password of your router first time but make it sure you change it at a regular frequency.
- Change the Routers LAN IP address – Most of the times technicians who configure the router assign the LAN IP address e.g. 192.168.0.1, change this IP address to something not so common like 192.168.0.37. This will be added obstacle for hackers.
- Review the Security options – When selecting the router security level, select it WPA2 , most of the router nowadays comes with this as a default option.
- Keep Routers Firmware up-to-date – Router manufacturers keeps on fixing the bugs and adding security features to the routers, update your router firmware with the latest updates. This will fix the identified vulnerabilities and reduces the chances of compromise. The impact of latest Wanncry ransomware attack impacted across the globe and within a month another similar attack Petya /NotPetya made news worldwide and the impacted systems were not patched though the patch was available for months.
- Turn Network off when not in use – Though it is not practical to shut off your devices, consider this option while going on holidays or extended period away from home.
- Monitor for unknown device connections – Use your router’s management website for identifying the unknown/unauthorized device connection or attempt to connect and add those devices to the black list.
Apart from the router you need to take care of following points when using the internet,
- Antimalware Solution – Wherever possible install and keep antimalware solution updated e.g. Laptops, desktops, tablets, Mobile devices etc.
- Keep your Software updated – Apply patches, updates whenever released by OS and application software vendors. This will patch the vulnerabilities and probability of device compromised can be reduced
- Scanning of the Removable Storage Media – Before connecting USB drives, SD cards or other removable media scan for malware using the Antimalware software.
- Connecting to Unknown Wi-Fi – Whenever possible do not connect to public or unknown Wi-Fi networks. If you need to connect make sure your antimalware software is up to date, personal firewall software is on.
- Backup your personal data – Make a copy of all your personal documents, photos, Medias and other important information in digital format and store this backup in safe place.
Just follow the simple principle,
STOP, THINK and CONNECT to stay safe.