Most everyone now has some kind of network inside their home or small office. Unfortunately, this means we are leaving a few vulnerabilities inside what we believe is our fortress of internet security. Just because all your “stuff” is behind your locked front door, doesn’t mean it will never get stolen. So, just like you may have a firewall turned on at your router, does not guarantee the bad guys won’t make their way in.
There are many reasons for this, including products being shipped with vulnerabilities and consumers not patching them right away, default passwords on all devices not being changed upon installation, and manufacturers not even bothering to supply fixes to the vulnerabilities shipped with their own products.
In any case, there are a few simple, but general steps to make sure your small network is as safe as it can be:
- Change the default password on every device. When doing so, make sure it’s a strong passphrase that includes more than 8 characters, has a special character, and includes upper and lower case letters.
- Update the firmware as soon as it is installed. This is done right after it’s connected to the network and often times, a dialogue will appear asking if you want to check for updates. Yes, you do.
- Turn off features that you don’t need to use. Many devices come with all kinds of “extras” that are really just noise. You don’t need them, so don’t activate them.
- Read the manual for the device(s). There is usually important information in them about proper installation.
- Try to separate the network segments, if possible. If your TV doesn’t need to be on the same segment as your computer, put them on different ones.
- If you don’t need to connect it to the internet, don’t. You may think this is silly since we’re talking about a home network, but if you have a “kid” computer that doesn’t need Internet access, don’t grant it. Also, many people have smart TVs, but don’t use the functionality they provide. If this is the case, don’t connect it.
Don’t be afraid to call the support group for the vendor if you have questions. Honestly, they will not think less of you and you don’t have to tell your friends you did it.
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