Personal data is a very precious thing, and the internet is a resource that the average person often takes for granted, and doesn’t fully understand. When you combine these two principles, the results can get ugly. Sadly, millions of people a day become victims of data theft and other cybercrimes; and if you don’t want to become one of those people tomorrow, you should take some precautions today. We spoke with an IT company, TechQuarters, about the internet and data security for individuals. The managed IT services London businesses get from TechQuarters prioritizes cybersecurity, but the average person can boost their security as well. Below are some tips to follow:
Make Sure Network Encryption is Enabled
Your network is the way that your phone, computer, smart tv, etc. connects to your Wi-Fi router. Ensuring that this network is encrypted is a very important first step to ensuring your data security.
Encryption is the practice of converting information into a coded message before it is sent anywhere. Just like people can send an encrypted message. That can’t be read if intercepted, computers can send encrypted messages that can only be decoded by a trusted recipient.
It is easier than you might think to intercept information sent between a device like a smartphone, and the internet. If that information is unencrypted, it means it could be read by someone intercepting it. However, if that info is encrypted before being sent over a network, it will be indecipherable to any snoopers.
Make Sure Your Router Firewall is Enabled
A firewall is basically a filter for your network. Network traffic (basically information sent between your network and the wider internet) passes through a firewall. The firewall looks at the traffic as it passes through, and if it sees anything that it recognizes as being malicious or elicit, it will block that from entering your network. This generally refers to websites that are known to be malicious, and the firewall stops you from being able to access dangerous websites.
Most people think that a firewall is something only an IT support company or some other professional organization can use. But actually, a lot of modern Wi-Fi routers have a firewall installed on them. If it is not enabled, it is quite easy for the average user to turn it on and enjoy better protection on data security.
Keep Your Router Firmware Up-to-date
Software is normally in a constant cycle of being reviewed by the developers and amended if vulnerabilities are found. Developers and software vendors often release patch updates that get added to the software, improve its functionality, and eliminate vulnerabilities that could otherwise be manipulated by hackers. A common reason for people getting hacked. Because they haven’t updated the software they use on their computer and left vulnerabilities open for hackers to exploit.
Your Wi-Fi router has software, just like every other computer or mobile device (often called firmware). If your Router’s firmware is out of date, it could hold vulnerabilities that compromise the device’s ability to work properly. This could drastically lower your network security. So making sure to keep the router’s software updated is important for data security.
Consider Upgrading Your Router
Some people might be using a Wi-Fi router that is several years old. While the router might still succeed in its job to provide you with an internet connection, it might be using outdated security protocols. The technology sector changes rapidly, and things that used to be considered highly secured may now be considered highly vulnerable compared with modern solutions.
This may be the case when using an old Wi-Fi router, so it could be time for you to get rid of the old one, and purchase a modern one with better security features. Normally you get your router from your internet service provider. But most routers can be configured to work with any internet service.
Change the Login Credentials of Your Router
Your Wi-Fi router is the gateway to your network. You’ll notice that routers have a name that identifies them. So you know which one to connect to on your PC or phone, and they also have a unique login password. Unfortunately, there are ways of cracking passwords. So if someone can somehow connect to your Wi-Fi router, and crack the password. They will have access to your network.
Anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled phone will be able to see all the different routes that they are in the range of. But if you give your Wi-Fi a unique name, it’s a good way of disguising it. Changing the default password is also a good idea for data security.
Be Careful Where You Place Your Router
To make absolutely certain that your network can’t be snooped on by someone outside of the network. You should be mindful of where your router is positioned in your house. As we mentioned above, the router is the gateway to your network; all anyone needs to do is connect to the router, and they will be able to view all kinds of data. The range of a Wi-Fi router means that someone might potentially be able to connect to it from outside your house or apartment building.
While this might not be a huge risk, as long as you have a password for your router, it is still something to think about.