6 tips to protect your home network

With the number of internet-enabled devices in the home proliferating, but no IT administrators in sight, you may be at a loss as to how to protect your network and endpoints.

1 home network
Thinkstock

Best practices

The rise of malware targeting unsecured IoT endpoints, like the Mirai strain used as part of October’s DDoS attack on Dyn, mean it’s more important than ever to make security a priority. Remote workers who use their home office as their primary office are arguably at even more of a risk since they may be exposing corporate assets as well as personal assets. Untangle recommends the following best practices to secure your home network.

protect your home network
Pexels

Secure the perimeter

Businesses rely on advanced threat protection from systems like next-generation firewalls (that examine network traffic at the application layer) or unified threat management systems –– the Swiss Army knives of security –– to protect their LAN-side devices. Many off-the-shelf Wi-Fi routers aimed at consumers contain very little in the way of network management, let alone modern security. Consider installing a commercial-grade firewall or UTM solution; some network security software companies now offer home licenses.

protect your home network
Pexels

Get visibility

Even if your home network is safeguarded behind a secure gateway, you still need to understand and establish a baseline for what is “normal” network traffic. Consumer routers offer little in the way of traffic analysis and reporting. You’ll need a gateway with application-level traffic reporting to see which IoT and other devices are phoning home.

protect your home network
Thinkstock

Stop the chatter

Once you’ve identified which devices are connected, you’ll be able to assess whether they really need to be internet-enabled. The safest option is to disable network access unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, consider putting your IoT devices on a separate local network to quarantine them in the event of a breach.

protect your home network
Thinkstock

Turn off dangerous features

Today’s homes are filled with electronics that are suddenly “smart” –– like televisions with cameras or have voice-enabled controls. If a hacker was able to penetrate your network, these devices are easy targets –– and can be used to breach your privacy. Turn off any features that aren’t truly necessary.

protect your home network
Thinkstock

Don’t ignore passwords

It might seem like a no-brainer to change the default password on a device, especially since password-based exploits have been grabbing headlines for years. But stay vigilant when it comes to password management; choose complex, unique passwords for each device. Consider a password manager to keep track and remind you to change them often.

protect your home network
Thinkstock

Use multi-layered protection

Businesses don’t rely on one method to protect their networks and devices; they take a multi-layered approach. Take a cue from them: make sure you secure your endpoints (phones, tablets, laptops, PCs and IoT devices) as well as securing your network. Even if you have a secure gateway in place, a laptop could be compromised by inserting a USB stick with a malware-laden file.