Is home network security neccessary and why should I consider it?
Is home network security neccessary and why should I consider it?
Home network security simply means protecting a network that connects devices—such as printers, smartphones, routers, computers, and Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitors and cameras—with each other and the internet within a home.
Several home users share two common misunderstandings about the security of their networks:
1. Their home network is relatively small to be in danger of a cyberattack.
2. Their devices are “safe enough” right out of the box.
Most attacks/offenses are not personal in nature and can happen on any network—small or big, business, or home. It is naturally more vulnerable and susceptible to outside threats when a network connects to the internet.
How do I upgrade the security of my home network?
By following any of the simple but effective mitigation procedures below, you can significantly lessen your home network’s attack surface and make it harder for a malicious cyber actor to start a successful attack.
● Update your software regularly. Conventional software updates are one of the most significant steps you can take to improve your home networks and systems’ overall cybersecurity posture. Besides adding new characteristics and functionality, software updates often include essential spots and security fixes for newly identified threats and vulnerabilities. Most recent software applications will automatically check for recently released updates. If automated updates are not feasible, consider purchasing a software program that recognizes and centrally handles all installed software updates.
● Remove unnecessary services and software. Disable all unnecessary services to decrease the attack surface of your network and devices, including your router. Unused or unwanted services and software can generate security holes on a device’s system, which could lead to an expanded attack surface of your network environment. This is particularly true with new computer systems on which vendors often pre-install many trial software and applications—known as “bloatware”—that users may not find useful. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) suggests that you research and remove any software or services that are not regularly used.
● Adjust factory-default configurations on software and hardware. Various software and hardware products come “out of the box” with overly lenient factory-default designs meant to make them user-friendly and decrease the troubleshooting time for customer service. Unfortunately, these default configurations are not equipped for security. Leaving them allowed after the installation may generate more avenues for an attacker to exploit. Users should take steps to strengthen the default configuration parameters to lessen vulnerabilities and defend against intrusions.
● Change default login passwords and usernames. Most network devices are pre-configured by using default administrator passwords to simplify setup. These default credentials are not safe—they may be readily accessible on the internet or even physically marked on the device itself. Leaving these unchanged generates opportunities for malicious cyber actors to get unauthorized access to information, install malicious software, and create other problems.
● Apply strong and unique passwords. Choose strong passwords to help guard your devices. Additionally, do not apply the same password with multiple accounts. With this approach, if one of your accounts is compromised, the attacker won’t be able to breach any other of your accounts.
● Run up-to-date antivirus software. A renowned antivirus software application is an essential protective measure against recognized malicious threats. It can automatically identify, quarantine, and remove various malware types, such as viruses, Trojan horse, worms, and ransomware. Many antivirus solutions are straightforward to install and intuitive to use. CISA prescribes that all computers and mobile devices on your home network administer antivirus software. Additionally, be sure to allow automatic virus definition updates to guarantee the utmost protection against the latest threats. Note: because detection depends on signatures—known patterns that can recognize code as malware—even the best antivirus will not provide enough protection against new and radical threats, such as polymorphic viruses and zero-day exploits.
● Install a network firewall. A firewall should be installed at the boundary of your home network to guard against external threats. A firewall can obstruct malicious traffic from access to your home network and warn you of potentially harmful activity. When properly configured, it can also help as a barrier for internal threats, preventing unwanted or malicious software from spreading out to the internet. The majority of wireless routers come with a configurable, built-in network firewall that includes extra features—such as denial-of-service (DoS) defense, access controls, and web-filtering —that you can tailor to suit your networking environment. Not to forget that some firewall features, including the firewall itself, may be switched off by default. Guaranteeing that your firewall is on and all the settings are appropriately configured will increase your network’s network security. Note: your Internet service provider (ISP) might be able to assist you in determining whether your firewall has the most suitable settings for your appropriate equipment and environment.
● Install firewalls on network devices. In addition to a network firewall, think of installing a firewall on all computers connected to your network. Often known as host- or software-based, these firewalls examine and filter a computer’s inbound and outbound network traffic based on a predetermined method or set of rules. Most modern Linux and Windows operating systems come with a customizable, built-in, and feature-rich firewall. Most vendors also bundle their antivirus software with additional security features such as email protection, parental controls, and malicious websites blocking.
● Regularly back up your data. Make and store—using external media or a cloud-based service—consecutive backup copies of all relevant information dwelling on your device. Think of using a third-party backup application, which can automate and simplify the process. Be sure to encrypt your backup to guard the confidentiality and integrity of your information. Data backups are essential to minimizing the impact if that data is lost, corrupted, infected, or stolen.
● Increase wireless security. Follow the procedures below to increase the security of your wireless router. Note: Check your router’s instruction manual or contact your ISP for specific instructions on how to change a particular setting on your device.
a. Use the most vital encryption protocol available. CISA suggests using the Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) Personal Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), which is recently the most secure router configuration available for home use. It includes AES and can use cryptographic keys of 128, 192, and 256 bits.
b. Change the router’s default administrator password. Change your router’s administrator password to help secure it from an attack using default credentials.
c. Change the default service set identifier (SSID). Sometimes referred to be the “network name,” an SSID is a unique name that recognizes a particular wireless local area network (WLAN). All wireless devices with a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) have to use the same SSID to communicate. Because the device’s default SSID typically recognizes the manufacturer or the actual device, an attacker might use this to identify the device and utilize any of its known vulnerabilities. Your SSID should be unique and not attached to your identity or location, which would enable the attacker to identify your home network with ease.
d. Disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). WPS gives simplified mechanisms for a wireless device to join a Wi-Fi network without entering the wireless network password. However, a design defect in the WPS specification for PIN authentication significantly reduces the time needed for a cyberattacker to brute force an entire PIN because it notifies them when the first half of the eight-digit PIN is correct. Many routers don’t have a proper lock out policy after a certain number of failed trials to guess the PIN, making a brute-force attack much more likely to happen.
e. Reduce wireless signal strength. Your Wi-Fi signal frequently propagates past the perimeters of your home. This extended emission enables eavesdropping by intruders outside your network perimeter. Therefore, cautiously consider antenna placement, antenna type, and transmission power levels. By experimenting with your router placement and signal strength levels, you can lessen your Wi-Fi network’s transmitting coverage, thus reducing this risk of compromise. Note: while this reduces risk, a motivated attacker may still be ready to intercept a signal that has limited coverage.
Turn off the network when not in use. While it may be unrealistic to switch Off and On the Wi-Fi signal frequently, disable it during travel or extended sessions when you do not need to be online. Also, many routers present the choice to configure a wireless program that will automatically disable the Wi-Fi at a particular time. When your Wi-Fi is disabled, you avoid outside attackers from abuse/misuse your home network.
● Disable Universal Plug and Plan (UPnP) when not in use. UPnP is a convenient feature that permits networked devices to seamlessly establish and discover communication with each other on the network. Nevertheless, though the UPnP feature facilitates initial network configuration, it is also a security peril. Current large-scale network attacks confirm that malware within your network can apply UPnP to bypass your router’s firewall, permit attackers to take charge of your devices remotely, and spread malware to other devices. It would be best if you therefore disabled UPnP unless you have a specific need for it.
● Upgrade firmware. Verify your router manufacturer’s website to be sure you are running the latest firmware version. Firmware updates improve product performance, fix flaws and approach security vulnerabilities. Note: some routers have the selection to turn on automatic updates.
○ Disable remote management. Most routers grant the option to modify and view their settings over the internet. Turn off this feature to protect against unauthorized individuals reaching and changing your router’s configuration.
○ Monitor for new/unknown device connections. Check your router manufacturer’s website to monitor unauthorized devices joining or attempting to connect to your network. Also, see the manufacturer’s website for suggestions on preventing illegal devices from connecting to your network.
● Lessen Email Threats. Phishing emails remain one of the numerous popular initial attack vectors for malware delivery and credential harvesting. Tackling the human element—considered the most vulnerable component in every network—continues to be extremely useful. The attacker has to persuade a user to click on a link or open an attachment to infect a system. The great discovery is that there are many indicators that you can use to identify a phishing email quickly. The best shield against these harms is to become an educated and careful user and familiarize yourself with the most popular elements of a phishing attack