What is Home Network Security & Why Should You Care
on Friday, May 25, 2018
Security & Fraud Information
What is home network security?
Home network security refers to the protection of a network that connects devices to each other and to the internet within a home. Whether it’s staying in touch with friends and family, paying your bills electronically, or teleworking, the internet enables us to accomplish tasks more efficiently and conveniently from the comfort of our own homes. However, as we increasingly embed technology into our daily lives, the risk of security issues also increases. As a result, it’s imperative that home users understand and remain vigilant about the risks of being connected to the internet and the importance of properly securing home networks and systems.
Why should I care?
Many home users share two common misconceptions about the security of their networks.
- They believe that their home network is too small to be at risk of a cyberattack.
- They believe that their devices are “secure enough” right out of the box.
Most attacks are not personal in nature and can occur on any type of network—big or small, home or business. If a network connects to the internet, it is inherently more vulnerable and susceptible to outside threats.
Many internet-enabled consumer products come preconfigured with factory-issued settings, including default usernames and passwords. Many people leave these unchanged, creating opportunities for malicious cyber actors to gain unauthorized access to information, install malicious software (malware), and cause other problems.
How do I improve the security of my home network?
By following some of the simple but effective mitigation techniques below, you can significantly reduce the attack surface of your home network and make it more difficult for a malicious cyber actor to launch a successful attack.
- Update your software regularly. Regular software updates are one of the most effective steps you can take to improve the overall cybersecurity posture of your home networks and systems. Besides adding new features and functionality, software updates often include critical patches and security fixes for newly discovered threats and vulnerabilities. Most modern software applications will automatically check for newly released updates. If automated updates are not available, consider purchasing a software program that identifies and centrally manages all installed software updates.
- Remove unnecessary services and software. Disable all unnecessary services to reduce the attack surface of your network and devices, including your router. Unused or unwanted services and software can create security holes on a device’s system, which could lead to an increased attack surface of your network environment. This is especially true with new computer systems on which vendors will often pre-install a large number of trial software and applications—referred to as “bloatware”—that users may not find useful. National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) recommends that you research and remove any software or services that are not being used regularly.