In our day-to-day lives, the security of our home Wi-Fi is not our first thought. In fact, we don’t even think about our networks until they “go down” or get hacked. We take Wi-Fi for granted, and as a result, we push it out of our consciousness. When we ignore our network, we are giving cyber attackers an easy entrance into our homes, our devices, and our personal information. So, we need to think of ways to secure our Wi-Fi and network so that our smart home technology and personal devices can stay secure.
Your Home Network Is More Vulnerable Than You Think
Even if you purchase a network protection plan or a ready-to-go firewall device, your home network still isn’t truly secure. When you set up your network and unbox your router, there is no built-in security. And your security add-ons are only as good as their last update. You might be thinking, “I don’t need network security; no one is coming after me.” Unfortunately, hackers will target any network they can sink their hooks into – even yours.
In 2021, more than 40 million U.S. consumers fell victim to identity theft. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research | 2022 Identity Fraud Study: The Virtual Battleground)
Some of us are even more susceptible to network security threats and issues than others. If you have a home larger than 3,000 square feet or one with exotic finishes, a typical wireless router will not provide adequate Wi-Fi coverage. High-profile individuals are naturally bigger targets for cybercriminals. Professionals who rely on their home network to communicate with their offices and colleagues must keep a sharp eye on their home network security.
If your home relies on smart devices, then you are doubly vulnerable. Each Wi-Fi-connected smart device (ex: your security cameras, home hub, or smart thermostat) is a portal into your wireless network. When you access your home network via a remote login (ex: If you have the ability to view your home security camera feeds from your iPhone), this login portal becomes even more susceptible. As we add more Internet of Things (IoT) devices to our homes, we open up more portals.
There will be over 25 billion IoT devices by 2030. (Source: Finance Online)
Once hackers figure out how to log in through one portal, they are in your network, and all your connected devices are at risk. This means hackers can gain access to your appliances, home hubs, speakers, security systems, phones, tablets, computers, and more. Hackers can track your browser and keystrokes to collect additional information, like your personal banking website login. One small opening in your network is now an identity theft and financial fraud nightmare.
For more expert advice regarding smart home and smart device security, check out Porch’s article.
Simple Ways to Step Up Your Home Network Security
One easy way to strengthen your defense against hackers is to employ a smart password strategy. Take these four steps for a strong password:
- Never use the password that comes with your router
- Create a complicated password using a service like KeePass or your own generation system (ex: combine 3 unrelated words back to back to back with a number and symbol)
- Don’t give out your password or post it in a visible place
- Change password once a month (or at least once a season)
- Set up an encryption key for the Wi-Fi network.
Once your password is secure, you can take another simple precaution: if it’s possible, shut off your wireless when it’s not in use. You should only do this if you do not have any vital systems connected to your wifi. For example, if your security cameras and alarm are wifi connected, avoid shutting down your network! If you are able to shut off your wireless when it’s not in use (ex: during the day when everyone is at work or school, at night when you sleep, or while you are on vacation), you give hackers less opportunity to find it.
Protecting your Wi-Fi network can help prevent other security risks, such as unauthorized access or data theft, and will make your smart devices more secure in everyday use.
Identity theft occurs roughly every 2 seconds in the United States. (Report On Identity Theft)
These steps are a great start, but the only impenetrable security solution is to monitor and defend your network 24/7… And who has time for that? Since we don’t have IT departments in our homes, we have to look to professional services.
If you want to learn more about your specific network security threats, schedule a time for a trained IT expert to Evaluate Your Home Network. BTA will send a licensed technician to your home to identify gaps in security, potential weaknesses, and unsecure products.