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5 Digital Security Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Jan 6, 2020Blog

Today, if you want to protect yourself against things like security attacks or identity theft, you have to be active. You cannot ignore the problems or think that you are going to be protected “just because.”  However, even if you do actively take measures to protect yourself and your data, it’s still likely that you are making at least one mistake without knowing.

Here are five digital security mistakes that many people make and how to fix them:

Mistake #1: Using an outdated router

Check your router. Is it old or outdated? “Old” for a router can be as short of time as two to three years old. If this is the case, consider upgrading your router to a newer model.

How to fix this: Upgrade to a secure router

Choose a newer model router that can receive security updates. Not only will a new router make your internet performance better, it will help keep you protected from vulnerabilities.

Depending on how much space you have will determine what kind of upgraded router you will need. If you live in a small house or apartment, you still want to upgrade because it will help keep you protected. If your home is mid-sized, consider a wireless router that has a long range. If your home is large, you may need to invest in a home network extender that allows you to get WiFi throughout your entire home.

Mistake #2: Leaving your laptop in a vulnerable position

Mistake number two is about vulnerabilities with devices, specifically laptops. Have you ever been in a coffee shop and walked away from your computer? Or, if you didn’t walk away, you were looking at private information in a public space? Do you pay attention to your laptop camera? It’s not a secret that people have prying eyes or that there are cyber attackers out there. Hackers can get to your information by hacking into your camera, or simply by watching what you do on your device.

How to fix this: Being mindful of your surroundings

There are a few ways to fix this, one is to being mindful of where you use your devices. Never leave your devices unattended, but also you can consider getting a screen filter to block your screen from others when you are in public.

The other thing you can do is make sure that your camera is covered when it is not in use. An exposed camera runs the risk of cyber-attacks and leaving you exposed to the attackers. Covering your webcam can be as simple as investing in an adhesive cover that you put over the camera when it is not in use.

Mistake #3: Giving kids free-range of the Internet

Letting kids use the internet seems innocent enough, but there is a lot of danger out on the wide-open web.

How to fix this: Set up parental controls

Fortunately, there are parental controls out there that are part of a managed WiFi solution that help you put parental controls in place and cover all devices connected to your network. This allows you to do a number of things, like:

  • Block unwanted content
  • Monitor online activity
  • Schedule internet use
  • Enforce internet pausing
  • Filtering keywords and content controls

Mistake #4: Not using two-factor authentication with important online accounts

Do your accounts use a two-factor authentication when you are asked to login. Probably not. Or at least the best bet is probably not all of them.

What this means is that in addition to entering a username and password to log in, you go through an additional step to verify that you are who you say you are. Usually, this looks like getting a text with a secret code that you then enter. However, phones and texts are not always the most secure either.

How to fix this: Set up two-factor authentication

Yes, you can get a texted code (which is better than nothing) but there are more secure options out there. For example, having a second-factor device.

There are two-factor authentication USB drives that you can get that help protect you online. These security keys work with online services, sites and apps. The only risk is with losing the physical key, so be mindful where you place it! We suggest always keeping it plugged into your laptop or device.

Mistake #5: No firewall protection on your home network

With so many connected devices in the home, all it takes is one to bring the whole network down. A security breach is not only left to smartphones or laptops, with Internet of Things (IoT) devices everywhere in the home, hackers can get into through something as seemingly innocent as your smart light bulbs.

How to fix this: Set up a firewall for security

Make sure that your home network has a firewall for protection. Especially if you share your internet with multiple users. Reputable and secure firewall services will offer a firewall and Virtual Private Network (VPN) which makes sure that you and all other users connected to your WiFi are protected. 

Next Steps

If you’ve been making any of these mistakes, don’t get down on yourself! They are very common. However, they are very important to fix ASAP within your means. The best thing that you can do is start to protect yourself now so that you don’t have to clean up the issues later on. We suggest starting with updating your router, since it is the heart of your entire home network.

For everything you need to know about Wi-Fi networking and security, check out Actiontec’s Complete Guide to WiFi Networking.

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