Cyber threats now are no longer limited to the office networks. Now, hackers and scammers realize that home computers are more vulnerable since home network setups are seldom or less protected. Home computer users need to maintain at least a basic level of defense especially when accessing the Internet.

Not keeping the OS and applications up-to-date

Surprisingly, many home users are too lazy or don’t have the time to verify if all the PC’s OS and applications are up-to-date. Updates don’t always have automated update features, as in the case of Microsoft Windows 7 optional updates, as well as some applications. Attackers can target these applications to exploit a potential target. Always take time to update your OS and applications, especially the ones you frequently use.

Not using strong passwords for network devices

A strong password needs to be implemented on any network device that can be managed using any web interface. For instance, many network printers on the market today can be managed using web interface to configure services, determine job status, and enable features such as e-mail alerts and log-ins.

Frequently using laptops, tablets, and smartphones in Wi-Fi hotspots

Many establishments like coffee shops, hotels, airports, malls, etc., offer wireless hotspots or kiosks for customers to access the Internet. Since the underlying infrastructure is unknown and security is often lax, these hotspots and kiosks are susceptible to attack and hacker activity. If using a hotspot is the only option for accessing the Internet, then limit activities to web browsing. Avoid accessing services that require user credentials or entering personal information.

Exchanging work and home content

Home systems are generally easier to compromise, so the forwarding of content like e-mails or documents from home systems to work systems either through e-mail or removable media may put work systems at an increased risk of compromise. For interactions that are solicited and expected, have the contact send any work-related correspondence to your work e-mail account.

Storing personal information openly on the Internet

Personal information which has traditionally been stored inside computers and other local devices is now moving to cloud storage on the Internet. Examples of information typically stored in the cloud include webmail, financial information, and other vital personal information. As much as possible, keep storage of such information in the cloud at a minimum or none at all. Nothing beats securing personal information on personal devices.

Improper password management

Ensure that passwords are properly protected since they provide access to large amounts of personal and financial information. Passwords should be strong, unique for each account, and difficult to guess. A strong password should be at least 10 characters long and contain multiple character types using lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and special characters. A unique password should be used for each account to prevent an attacker from gaining access to multiple accounts if any one password is compromised. Always disable features that allow programs to remember passwords and automatically enter them when required.

When you’re unsure about something or your PC or gadget seems to have security or privacy issues, you can consult an IT tech support service company. For now, safety should be the primary concern so your home network isn’t vulnerable to any attack.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 7:10:44 PM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

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