How to stay safe when using the internet at home


Date: 11 October 2019

A couple sit on the sofa with their feet up streaming content through the internet

No matter how much we use the internet, and the integral role it plays in our daily lives, it can still be a scary place at times, especially if you aren’t vigilant about online safety. While most of us use our home broadband for binge-watching our favourite shows or endlessly browsing social media, we can still leave ourselves wide open to malware, hacking, or in the worst case, identity theft.

With figures showing that over 350,000 malicious programmes are created everyday by cybercriminals and that an incredible 910 million pieces of malware are out there in the virtual world, you can never be too careful.

The reality is, if you don't take suitable precautions when browsing the internet, either at home or away, you can leave yourself vulnerable to endless virtual threats. With new dangers popping up daily, it is vital that you know how to stay safe while browsing the internet at home.

Change your router username and password

When you sign up for a new broadband deal, your internet service provider will send you a new router to access the internet. In the case of wireless routers – which is what most households use these days – you will also receive a username and password to set-up and use your new connection.

While this often gives users a sense of security, the reality is that these seemingly randomly generated credentials often follow a template created by the service provider, making it far too easy for cybercriminals to decode them. To avoid this issue, you should immediately change the router name and the password needed to access it. Make sure you choose something far more unique, using the current best practices recommended for creating a password.

Create a new network name

While changing your router username and password is a good first step in securing your home broadband connection, there are still other things you can do to improve its security. As you will notice, broadband connections all come with a standard network name, often the name of the service provider or router manufacturer, followed by a combination of numbers and letters.

This makes it easy for you to find which network to connect to, but it also gives cybercriminals invaluable information including the brand of router you are using. That information makes it far easier to hack the network as each brand of router will have its own weaknesses to exploit. Changing the network name to something entirely random will mean no one will know the make or model of your router, adding an extra layer of security to your home broadband connection.

Don’t forget to enable your network firewall

Firewalls do come as standard with most home broadband routers but in certain cases, you will still need to check the settings to ensure that it is enabled. It doesn’t hurt to add an additional firewall to your network too, as you can never be too safe when it comes to protecting yourself from hackers.

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