Enhance Your Home Wireless Network Security I Ironhack Blog

Ironhack cyberattacks and security

Why it is important to protect your home network? In this article we will explain why and how we can protect a home network, so your family can use the internet more safely and securely. Most households now run networks of devices linked to the internet, including computers, gaming systems, TVs, tablets, smartphones and wearable devices that access wireless networks. To protect your home network and your family, you need to have the right tools in place and confidence that family members can use the internet more safely and securely. 

Home Network vs. Business Network

The typical home network differs a bit from a school or enterprise network. Whereas devices in a business network have the ability to be managed depending on the particular way it is set up (most of the time with domain controllers and user policies), the home configuration will see all devices as equal, there’s no hierarchy or organizational groups. Each devices has its own set of user account settings and software update. Although there isn’t as many devices on home environment, it is every bit as important to ensure that you’re staying up to date with the software for all of your devices and ensuring you are implementing the best security practices. 

Business Network




Home network

In a home configuration all the component, smartphones, computers, smart IoT devices are connected to a single device. It  will act as a router, a wireless access point, a switch and connects everything directly to the internet with a single cable.  

The weak areas:

  • The first comes straight from the Internet, can people attack you and get into your network? 
  • IoT devices, huge lack of security features and often present a lot of vulnerabilities
  • Wireless access point
  • When working online, your connection to your business, your job, is it secure enough?

IP address

When you connect to the internet your service provider gives you a public IP address, it’s like a name, an address, how websites communicate with you. Which information does it contain? For the most part, an IP address tells you the city, ZIP code, or area code of your ISP, as well as your ISP's name. You can find out more for your configuration here: https://whatismyipaddress.com/

VPN

Installing a virtual private network (VPN) solution is a great security add-on for the home devices you use most often. By creating a private network from a public connection, it allows you to browse the Internet safely and maintain your data privacy. In this way, malicious actors will have a very hard time tracking you down online. Remote access VPNs are useful for both home and business use.

How do you maintain or enhance your overall security while using a home network? 

Each of this strategy can overall contribute to give you a better security posture
- Managing your password, ensuring that they are strong and securely made is one of the most important feature that you can control (Using a password manager is highly recommended)
- Browsing on well known and safe websites is always a must
- if multi factor authentication is  included, you should enable it
- Make sure that your important files are backed up on a regular basis
- Turn on your firewall and install the antivirus of your choice (windows defender or another 3rd party product)
- Securing your mobile device, making sure that the OS is updated, the apps as well and making sure they are not malicious apps

What’s important to keep in mind is to be able to protect, manage and control all your devices within the network.

Securing and hardening your router

Your router is perhaps the most important gadget in your home. It checks all incoming and outgoing traffic, acting as a sentry to make sure that nothing dangerous comes in and nothing sensitive goes out. It controls access to your home Wi-Fi network and through that all of your phones, tablets, laptops, and more. If someone else gains access to that network—whether a remote hacker or your next-door neighbor—it can be quick work to compromise those devices. With that in mind, it's essential to keep your router secure. The good news is these steps aren't too difficult or time-consuming, and they'll significantly reduce your risk. These tips will require you to access your router's settings, which you can typically do through your web browser by typing in an IP address, or if you're lucky, through an app on your phone.

The first step to work on your router’s configuration is to find his address, a lot of devices are using the default gateway 192.168.0.1, you can check yours by running the command ipconfig in the terminal.

On the administration portal, a few options should be taken into consideration : 

Router settings

  • Make sure you have your Firewall enabled 

  • Close the unnecessary open ports in the Port Forwarding tab

Ports are like open holes in your network, it’s best to close them to limit access

  • Disable remote management from the router 

This allows attackers with your public IP address to access to your router’s portal, all they need is a username and password

  • Change the default username and password from the router 

A lot of devices are still using the default Administrator credentials, make sure to change 

  • Update the system regularly 

System updates are there to fix weaknesses and continuously enhance the device

  • Disable LAN & WAN ping 

Hackers can scan a range of IP network and you don’t want your router to answer

Wireless security

  • Use a strong password 

A long combination of random characters is preferred and a passphrase is even more recommended !

  • Always prefer a strong encryption level (WPA2)
  • Change your network name (SSID)

This could reveal the model of your router to someone and the eventual vulnerabilities of it. You can also choose to hide your network name.

  • Create guest network to separate traffic
  • If possible, set a different wireless network dedicated to your IoT / smart devices
  • Disable WPS 

Securing the home network should be a top priority for each of us interested in keeping the data safe and secure. These steps can be really useful even for the non-tech-savvy person to apply. Also, do not forget that your wireless network security can be sometimes weak, and prone to exploits. By following the advice in this article, you will enhance your home network security and prevent as many cyberattacks as possible. Of course, none of these methods are failsafe, but they are a worthwhile effort that will diminish threat risks in your household as much as possible.

If you want to learn more about Cybersecurity, check out our bootcamps for beginners and join the tech game! 

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