Home security measures are not limited to your alarm system, surveillance cameras, or monitored fire detectors. Something as innocuous as a computer can become a thief’s most effective tool in stealing your personal information. Online files could also be manipulated or corrupted to spread viruses across large networks in minutes before anyone knows what is going on. With that in mind, what can you do to secure your physical and digital technological assets?
1. Secure All Devices and Servers with Strong Passwords
At a minimum, you will want to secure your computer, your smartphone and your tablet with a password. You should also use a password to protect your WiFi network as that can reduce the odds that anyone uses a baby monitor or your smart home thermostat system to get a glimpse into your home. Passwords should have both uppercase and lowercase numbers as well as numbers and symbols. Furthermore, you should change your password every 30 days to keep potential hackers guessing.
2. Never Transmit Sensitive Files or Personal Information Without Encryption
Everything that you either upload to the Internet or transmit over the Internet should be encrypted whenever possible. This reduces the odds that someone sees your social security number, a credit card number or any other information that could be used to steal your identity or put yourself or your family in danger. To tell if a website is securely encrypted, look for https: rather than http: in the URL.
3. Use Parental Controls to Limit What Your Kids Can Do
While you may understand that you don’t just share information online or have security settings set to your preferences, your kids may not appreciate or share your concern. They are likely more concerned with getting to their favorite website or social network to see what their friends are up to. Using parental controls will restrict what sites that they can access or what they can do to the device itself. Controls may even lock them out after a certain amount of screen time each day or during times when you can’t monitor what they are up to. Two examples of common parental control services include www.kiddle.co, a kid safe search engine provided by Google and Net Nanny, a paid software that provides customized, parent selected restrictions and monitoring.
4. Report Any Suspicious Activity to Your ISP
If you see a file that you didn’t download to your computer or believe that you have a virus that could be tracking your keystrokes or other activities, contact your ISP immediately. It may be possible to get a log of who accessed your computer or your network. If you do have a virus or a trojan loaded to your computer, it may be necessary to see a professional to have it removed immediately.
While you can’t guarantee that your devices or files will be 100 percent secure, there are steps that you can take to reduce the odds of a security breach. Strong passwords, knowing who is using a given device in your house and reporting suspicious activity can keep you and your devices safe from hackers and thieves. Being mindful of both physical and digital home security measures will help protect your family and home.