Protecting Your Home Network
Most households today use wireless networks to connect devices such as computers, gaming devices, TVs, tablets and smartphones to the Internet. To protect your home network and ensure your family can use the Internet safely and security, it’s important to have the right tools in place. Here are a few tips from www.staysafeonline.org to help your protect your home network:
- Keep a clean machine by making sure all of your Internet-enabled devices have the latest operating system, web browsers and security software.
- Secure your wireless router to prevent others from accessing information on your computer, using your Internet service for free and potentially using your network to commit cybercrimes. Here are ways to secure your wireless router:
- Change the name of your router. The default ID - called a service set identifier” (SSID) or “extended service set identifier” (ESSID ) – is assigned by the manufacturer. Change your router to a name that is unique to you and won’t be easily guessed by others.
- Change the pre-set password on your router. When creating a new password, make sure it is long and strong, using a mix of numbers, letters and symbols.
- Review security options. When choosing your router’s level of security, opt for WPA2, if available, or WPA. They are more secure than the WEP option.
- Create a guest password: Some routers allow for guests to use the network via a separate password. If you have many visitors to your home, it’s a good idea to set up a guest network.
- Use a firewall: Firewalls help keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. While anti-virus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for attempts to access your system and blocking communications with sources you don't permit. Your operating system and/or security software likely comes with a pre-installed firewall, but make sure you turn on these features.
Protecting Your Kids Online
The importance of prevention and how we can help create safe environments for kids in our communities is paramount. As part of these efforts, it’s important that we understand the abuse risks youth can face online, be it sexual or cyber-bullying. Netsmartz, a website by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, offers resources dedicated to helping adults keep kids safe online, and a site to help educate younger children about abuse prevention.