Smartphones, computers, tablets, and other Internet-enabled devices have become an integral part of our lives. With many of us using these tools to transact, conduct business, and stay connected with loved ones, it’s important that we keep our hardware locked down at all times. Dropping your guard even for a second could give hackers, and other cyber criminals access to your devices and network, a risk you wouldn’t want to take.
The first step to ensuring your computers and other internet-enabled devices are secure is by ensuring your computer network is safe and buttoned up tight. Outlined below are a few tips on how to secure your computer network.
Encrypt All Wireless Access Points
An unsecured wireless network gives access to everyone within the signal’s reach. Malicious individuals take advantage of unsecured networks to gain access to devices and computers connected to the said network. This can be quite risky for both your business and personal info.
Ensuring all wireless access points are secured with a strong passcode can, however, help keep intruders away. Although locking down your MAC addresses may seem handy, using WPA2 encryption for your networks can be just as safe and is recommended.
Hide Your SSID
Preventing your routers from broadcasting the SSID provides and an extra layer of security to your computer systems. For someone to gain access to the network, he/she would need both the SSID and paraphrase, which are hard to detect.
In addition to this, hiding the SSID works more like the 2-step verification method, hence much safer than when broadcasting it. If hiding SSID isn’t an option, you should consider changing the wireless network name to something more informative. Most routers broadcast their name and versions by default. Be sure to modify this to make life harder for hackers.
Manage Your Printer and File Sharing
File and printer sharing creates loopholes in the network that cyber-criminals can exploit to gain access to your computer. Disable all forms of sharing on your PC to prevent access, and only leave file sharing on a secured file server.
This step is of particular importance for individuals using laptops and tablets. You don’t want your computer to broadcast your entire file system to everyone connected to the network, especially when traveling.
Install security patches and OS updates
Both personal and work computers should have automatic OS updates turned on to help keep them updated. These software updates help fix bugs that cybercriminals exploit.
In addition to this, allowing OS updates provides additional security to your files and computer systems. Leaving your computer ignored for too long makes it vulnerable to exploitation, where hackers can plant malware to the systems.
Your router too needs to be updated to the latest firmware. Like with the OS, this gives it more protection from external attacks, hence an excellent way to keep hackers out.
Invest in a Good Firewall
In addition to enabling all firewalls on the router, you may still have to install an additional firewall on your desktop computers. Such firewalls not only restrict access to computer files but also make it hard for a cyber criminal to inject malicious code. You will also need a reliable antivirus software capable of detecting malware and spyware.
After implementing all these measures to secure your computer network, you can then invest in a VPN for added security online. VPNs not only encrypt network connections and traffic but also make it hard for hackers to sniff data/traffic. For more info, see our guide on how to choose a VPN service. Once you’re using one, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one.