With data breaches a fairly daily occurrence, people may think it impossible to keep their devices locked down and secure. Instead, there are actually a number of actions people can take to strengthen the Wi-Fi security at home, and make it harder for personal details to be discovered, or for devices connected to the internet breached.
Experts believe there are three basic steps that can certainly mitigate a possible attack, whether that's someone stealing a password, or something much worse. While companies have big IT departments at their disposal, consumers typically have just themselves. And here's where they can start — on their own.
Secure your router
To get online, devices need a connection handled through a router. Most people use one router for everything, from their work computer to their smart vacuum. There are certainly steps you can take to secure your home router — such as not giving the same password out to a babysitter that you use yourself. But creating a second option perhaps for work, can be a good idea, directing more sensitive connections through something that's personal and locked down.
“The best thing is to have a separate network," says Jerry Irvine, chief information officer of IT outsourcer Prescient Solutions.
Not sure how to accomplish this step? Consider hiring a professional group like Best Buy's Geek Squad to wire your home with a virtual private network, adding a dedicated pipe for your laptop, separate from smart devices.
Who doesn't resent having to create another password every time they download a new app, or sign up for an online service. But that doesn't mean resorting to your birthday as your go to. Instead, invest some time in creating better passwords, which is what Keeper Security's CEO and co-founder Darren Guccione recommends.
He suggests people use high-strength passwords and two-factor authentication when signing up for a site or app, noting that there are ramifications if you don't. “If you are guilty of reusing the same password over and over, hackers can gain access from everything to your bank account to your car to your home and everything in it," says the co-founder of the digital vault maker.
Check privacy settings
Not sure what the apps on your phone are collecting on you? While some companies are trying to make it clearer to consumers about data being collected on them through third-parties, it's never a bad idea to do some sleuthing yourself whether that's checking how a small smart light company gleans data about you to Facebook. These pieces of personal data can be later used to potentially phish more details from you— like your Wi-Fi password at home.
Either keep a running tally of apps and sites you're using, or invest a bit in a password manager so you can see the places and devices that are collecting details about you, and start checking one at a time. If you're not using an app anymore, it may be time to delete that connection, and create one less doorway to details about your life.