How to Keep Your Private Data Secure at Home
After a busy day of work or play, many of us slip into downtime mode by logging onto the internet. You may be aware that your smart devices could be spying on you, but how often do you contemplate the security of your home setup? Your home network generally requires a modem—one you buy or rent from your provider. There’s also usually a router to share the Wi-Fi signal inside your residence. Printers, signal extenders, and other black boxes each tap into your service and every one of these devices typically have preset passwords.
Let’s see a show of hands from readers who’ve changed those factory-installed passwords on routers or modems to a unique code. If you can’t honestly raise yours, you’re not alone. Americans frequently assume locking down their computer is enough. They don’t realize how vulnerable their networks can be. To protect the security of your internet configuration, you need to examine your devices that come with manufacturer’s passcodes. Then change them promptly.
What are the Risks of being Hacked at Home?
If your router gets compromised, a number of alarming issues can occur. After gaining access to your devices, a hacker might reroute your internet traffic to a website controlled by a team of thieves. If you do any online shopping, for example, the redirected traffic could capture credit card or other payment data. Much of the time the goal is to inject malware for device takeover.
The Benefits of Keeping Your Devices Updated
When a device manufacturer updates your computer’s operating system (OS), you probably get a slew of pop-up prompts to download and upgrade. Companies love to tout their new tricks and gadgets, but a refreshed OS often delivers a packet of security enhancements. You need to update! Many individuals cling to an outdated OS they’ve mastered even if it’s leaking their data like a sieve. In 2017, the massive WannaCry data breach circled the globe. Malware makers exploited known flaws with old operating software. Install new and improved software in the week after its release, but it is okay to pause for a day or two. Even security experts like to wait because they don’t want to install imperfect updates.
Don’t Let Risks Multiply
It’s hard to measure the percentage of computer users who update their OS regularly, but outdated software is a significant cause of data breaches. Top-tier security demands more attention to upgrades for both device hardware and operating firmware/software. If your routers and modems are left unpatched, remote attackers could exploit known flaws to sneak into insecure user networks. Nothing lasts forever, and that’s clearly true for digital equipment. Eventually, the manufacturer terminates support; that translates to no more security patches. You’ll want to replace end-of-life devices that can’t access new fixes.
Don’t Forget About Your Printer
Even the humble printer has become a prime target as modern printers have autonomous computation abilities and can be hacked into. Printers now store data and can connect to the rest of your network. Unless you altered the factory-installed password, your printer could be the weakest link in your home. Insecure printers may sound comical, but the damage is real. If hacked, a printer can spread malware, leak information, or become part of a bot network used to wreak havoc.
Bots add your device(s) to a group that remotely launches Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Enslaved devices can overload websites with connection demands causing crashes; the owner of the device is often oblivious to the takeover. That’s why even printers need their software updated. Try to research devices before you buy them. You should consider buying devices that meet your personal needs, not just what’s popular. Bestsellers, for example, may be top hacker targets simply because there are more of them in use. If worse comes to worst, you may find that your personal information has been stolen. But still, it’s not the end of your world.
IDShield is available 24/7 to members for emergency situations. If an IDShield member needs further assistance, they have access to a Licensed Private Investigator who will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to restore the member’s identity to its pre-theft status. You don’t have to protect your private information on your own. You can proactively arm yourself against cybercrimes and reputation hijacking. IDShield, your all-inclusive solution to identity protection, monitoring, and restoration, now brings you enhanced privacy and reputation management consultation.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations.