These days, one of the biggest concerns people have is protecting what is theirs. This is applicable at Creative Foam where we develop and protect techniques for molding foam and developing specialty adhesives and butyls. Likewise it seems that every time you go online, listen to the radio, or even read a newspaper, you hear another account of how a company was hacked into and confidential user data was stolen.

 

Hackers aren’t content with prying into the lives of the rich and famous. Most of them know that digging into the files of Joe Everyman is a lot easier and a lot more subtle than aiming high. They also know the best possible ways to do so.

 

Here are some ways to make sure that your family is as protected as possible by making your home network as secure as it can be.

1. Strengthen your Wireless Network (if you use one)

Wireless networks are all the rage nowadays. Unfortunately, not everyone knows exactly how to secure one. The first step in securing a WiFi network is to change the name of your router. All routers are purchased with a name already assigned to them. Most companies will create the names using some sort of pattern. This makes it easier for hackers to find the name of a given router by using the same pattern the company uses. By changing the name of the router, you take the easy possibilities away from them. This can be best accomplished by referring to the instructions that come with the router, or if those instructions are long-gone, simply look-up the router manufacturer on the internet and make your inquiry there.

2. Make sure you have a strong, up-to-date antivirus software installed

There are many providers of Antivirus software, and each provider has its own unique suite of options. Some examples are Symantec, McAfee, & Kaspersky. These companies (as well as many others) offer both paid and free versions of their software. The overall advantage of purchasing a paid version is that they usually have multiple pieces of software included in the package whereas the free versions usually only have one.
Think of it in terms of a paintball fight. The paid software is like having a full set of body armor. Helmet, face mask, chest guard, etc… It’s still possible for someone to get a lucky shot, but pretty unlikely. Now think of the free version as wearing nothing but an elbow guard. Sure, it’s technically protection, but unless someone hits you in that exact spot… you’re going to be hurting before too long. Something is definitely better than nothing, but it’s important so assess your situation and balance your risk with your budget.

3. PASSWORDS!!!

If you visit any IT security website and look in their files regarding password recommendations, you will see something like this…
• 8 to 20 characters
• Lower-case, capitals, numbers, and special characters
• Don’t write it down
A password incorporating these tips will make you want to tear your hair out before that first cup of joe, but let’s be honest, a secure password is one of the best ways to keep unwanted users out of your network.

4. Don’t publish your diary on social media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn… all of these are great ways to keep in contact with family and friends in these modern times. Unfortunately, a lot of people use these sites as journals. They post almost everything that happens to them and most don’t consider that hackers are very good at deriving possible passwords from this personal information. Consider this: Most people create passwords based on aspects of their lives (pet’s name, birthdays, etc…), how hard do you think it would be for a hacker to pick out that information from profiles and/or posts?

5. Update your software as much as possible

Sometimes it may seem like you are running updates more often than you are actually using the computer. There is a very good reason for feeling this way – you probably are! When your software pulls down updates, it is not only installing new versions, it is also upgrading its security measures. When a software company finds out about a new virus that may utilize their program’s flaws, they will usually create fixes that they will include in their updates. So the next time you are prompted for updates, consider clicking “OK” and go get another cup of coffee.

 

 

In closing, you may not consider any of the above tips and tricks as particularly “fun” but if they are utilized correctly, you could be saving yourself a lot of frustration and heartache in the future. Being diligent and careful when it comes to securing your network will go a long way towards protecting your private information.

 

Submitted by Justin Shaw