I remember during my teenage years, before the internet, when the only forms of electronic media were television and radio. Back then, the main battle was to be thoughtful and intentional about the choices of media I invited into my life. Today, it’s not only about our media intake; it’s also about protecting access to our personal and confidential information. We take cybersecurity seriously at Master’s, and I will share some general action items you can use to have a cybersecure home and reduce your risk of cyberattacks:
Your Wireless Network
- Change your router’s default administrator password. A router is the equipment that transmits a wireless signal and allows devices to connect to the internet. The router’s administrator account is what allows you to control the settings of your wireless network.
- Also create a strong password for your home’s wireless network. The wireless network enables a device to have access to your router’s wireless signal.
*Check with your Internet Service Provider if you have questions about these steps.
- Use a strong and unique password for each of your devices and online accounts. As a rule of thumb, longer equals stronger. Passwords of at least 16 characters make it difficult for hackers to obtain your password.
- Enable two-step verification whenever possible. This second authentication step sends a code to your smartphone and is an important security measure to protect against unauthorized access to a website.
- Identify all devices (phones, computers, TVs, thermostats, etc.) on your home’s wireless network.
- Change the default password for each device.
- Enable automatic updating wherever possible. By always running the latest operating system and mobile apps, you make it much harder for anyone to hack into your devices.
Trusted Apps & Privacy Options
- Only download the apps you need and download from a trusted source (e.g. Apple’s App Store, Google Play store).
- Before downloading an app:
- Check for positive reviews.
- Check to see that it is actively updated by the vendor.
- Review the privacy options. If you are uncomfortable with the permission requirements of an app, find a different one that meets your needs.
- Once you no longer need or actively use the app, delete it from your device.
- Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you may be hacked, or lose your device. Make sure your devices are routinely backed up, as this makes it much easier to recover your information.
Just as we check to make sure the doors of our home are locked each night it is a prudent exercise to periodically check to make sure our “digital home” is locked as well. What additional steps do you take to reduce your risk of cyberattacks?