Cybersecurity refers to the protection of our computer systems, networks, and other devices from the disclosure of our Personally Identifiable Information (PII), sensitive data, and from damage to hardware and software. With coronavirus forcing us to transform our lives and introducing work from home, the need and reliance on computer networks, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have increased rapidly. They do have the chance of being cyber attacked. In this very vulnerable time, hackers and cybercriminals have been looking out for every possible opportunity to exploit and take advantage of the circumstance.
Cybersecurity became a crucial aspect of life in recent times, especially when covid-19 forced people to work from home and many businesses to shift completely online. Not only businesses but schools, colleges, etc., also took a very different version when everything around went virtual. Only the ones who stayed constant and certain during these times are hackers and cybercriminals. Wifi is where every device in the home is connected wirelessly. All the connection points are at risk in this situation.
Hence, having a completely cyber-secure home is more important than ever. Here are five ways to prevent cyber-attacks at home:
Securing the Wi-Fi:
Home networks such as Wi-Fi should always be encrypted. It’s very common for hackers to attempt to hack the router, intercept Wi-Fi and gain access to the network. It is strongly recommended to have a strong and secured password, with a mix of uppercase characters, lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols, and shared only among those who require it, in the family and not with strangers. Routers should be properly configured, and the default username and password should be changed. Changing the name of the Wi-Fi is also a good practice as it won’t provide which router is being used and would instead show the name chosen.
Using Antivirus Softwares and Firewall:
The use of anti-virus is one of the most simple and effective solutions for ensuring cyber-security. Anti-virus blocks all harmful viruses, Trojan horses, malware, etc., from attacking our device and prevents phishing and other cyber-attacks, thereby securing our data. It also offers protection from USBs by scanning for any possible virus present in them. They are highly cost-effective too and are available for free as well. Some of the popular anti-viruses are Kaspersky Anti-virus, F-Secure Anti-virus, Avira Antivirus, and Bitdefender Antivirus.
On the other hand, a firewall prevents our device from worms and provides confidentiality. It protects our sensitive data such as passwords, bank, and card information and prevents data transfer without the admin’s permission. Also, one should know about wireless PAN DHCP servers to keep their networks safe.Some of the popular firewall providers are Norton, TotalAV, McPhee, and BullGuard. It is recommended to use both antivirus and firewall to ensure strong and effective cybersecurity.
Using Virtual Private Network (VPN):
VPN is a private network that encrypts data. Using VPN adds an extra layer of security and provides user anonymity. Surfing the internet while using a VPN allows us to bypass internet traffic, restricted access, and even secure identity while using torrent. It providers servers all over the world and hence offers us a wide range of options to choose from. It hides our IP address, providing a safe and smooth browsing experience, and displays the IP address of the VPN server. It also works on different operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Multiple devices can be connected simultaneously, ranging from five to ten or more.
There are paid as well as free VPN services available. There are numerous VPNs available in the market. A safe and reliable VPN should have all the features as mentioned earlier. Some of the good VPNs are: ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark VPN.
Keep your software up-to-date:
Cyber-attacks through software are the most common. The most common reason for software outdated is due to a bug or virus-related issues. Hackers can take advantage of the situation and exploit the vulnerabilities. Once the software is declared outdated, i.e., an update is available, or the bug has been fixed, it should be updated immediately to avoid malware and other harmful cyber-attacks. Also, the newer versions come with new features, faster speed, secured and advanced privacy policies, which in turn strengthens our privacy and offers better service. Auto-updates should be enabled in our devices to avoid delays in up-gradation.
Using two-factor authentication:
Two-factor authentication, also known as two-factor verification, adds steps to the login process. Normally, we need to enter only the username and password. Still, with 2FA, we require to enter an additional verification method such as a One Time Password (OTP), or a code-shared via phone, mail, or message, or a biometric input such as fingerprint, or a location based input such as the IP address. This makes our login more secure and thus reduces the chances of cyber-attack. Even if the system is breached and the password is known, the 2FA will put the hacker in a fix. Rather than just using the password to Authorize, use other methods like one-time password or passphrases or link via text or mail.
The biggest way a hacker can get inside the home is wifi. Change password of wifi and check SSID after cross-checking with the service provider. Create different segments for home and business. Ensure all the applications you use are always up to date. Running on previous versions may have vulnerabilities or breaches, and hackers search for one such point to attack and exploit the flaw. Backing up data from time to time must be done automatically or manually. Alexa, Google assistant is always on. There can be vulnerability through third-party software, hence switching off during work time or not being used.
Entertainment purpose may increase the risk of attacks on a device that might be through some media plugins or revealing Sensitive information.
Cyber-attacks have caused a great deal of problems all over the world, which includes loss of personal data such as credit card information, bank information, passwords, harassment for ransom, breach of privacy, online personification, and many more. With rising cases of cyber-attacks, understanding the harmful consequences and creating a safe and secured environment has become the need of the hour. Knowledge and awareness, along with the practices as mentioned earlier, are essential for ensuring a cyber-secure home experience, as every successful attempt at hacking is a result of previously occurred human error.