Trend Micro Debunks Common Home Network Security Myths

For most people, securing a home wireless network rarely involves more than choosing a unique password. This should come as no surprise: networking is not exactly simple technology. A home network can connect all sorts of devices (computers, tablets, mobile phones, gaming consoles, and appliances, to name just a few) so that they can communicate with each other and the internet.

Last year’s Shodan data analysis basically shows that any device connected to the internet will eventually become vulnerable to attack, yet few people connected to a home network give any thought to device security — until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, some widespread myths and misconceptions about home networks actually give attackers an advantage.

Myth 1: “Protecting my Wi-Fi with a password makes it safe.”

Just having a password offers much less protection than you might imagine. All of your connected devices rely heavily on the router, but rarely does anyone try to protect that critical hardware. Too many of them just use the default password that hackers can guess. Poor router password practices often give criminals a big opening, as explained in our top IoT security concerns article.

Refer to this site to find out if your router still uses the default credentials.

Home Network Security Product Manager Michael Palmer has this specific advice for securing your Wi-Fi:

  • Enable WPA2 (“Wi-Fi Protected Access 2”) encryption for your Wi-Fi network
  • Set a strong password for your Wi-Fi network
  • Change your router’s default admin credentials
  • Update your router’s firmware to fix the KRACK vulnerability
  • Change the default network’s SSID (service set identifier) name

Myth 2: “Incognito browsing protects my privacy.”

Even Google’s Chrome web browser warns against this common misunderstanding: “Going incognito doesn’t hide your browsing from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit.” Going into incognito mode only prevents the web browser itself from keeping a record of what you do on the internet. Your computer, your router, and the websites that you open still keep track of you.

If you care about online privacy, try following these tips here.

Myth 3: “I have nothing worth hacking.”

As a matter of fact, you do.

While big companies may lose millions from cyberattacks and data breaches, you have a lot more to lose than you might think. Do you access your bank through the internet? Do you file your taxes online? A criminal can cause a lot of damage just from learning your marital status, home address, and purchasing history. A Trend Micro study showed that passwords and health information have a surprisingly high monetary value.

If you store or transmit personal information online, then you need protection for all of the devices involved.

Myth 4: “Criminals would never bother to target my network and devices.”

Hackers can put even a small home network to use for mining cryptocurrency or launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Once hijacked, your smartphones, IP cameras, gaming consoles, and even printers can end up making money for total strangers.

According to a recent study on home network security, cryptocurrency mining ranked as the most common detected network event in 2017. As Palmer notes, “You may have not had your data stolen, but your devices could be used as a tool for other activities.”

Myth 5: “I already have security software and don’t really need anything else.”

Having read this far, you should now understand that your devices definitely need protection beyond what typical security software provides. Pay attention to your router and the devices connected to it. Apply new firmware updates regularly. For even more peace of mind, consider the Trend Micro Home Network Security.

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