Thanks to the Internet, jobs that we used to have to do from the confines of an office can now be done at home. Even before COVID led many of us to work from home, millions of us already worked remotely. And that trend doesn’t seem like it will slow down any time soon.
There are good reasons for that, since remote work has many benefits for workers, as well as fewer overhead costs for employers. After a large chunk of the working population got a taste of working from home, many decided that they liked it.
However, working remotely has its own problems and challenges, especially in terms of network security. Your home network is probably not protected by the same rigorous cybersecurity protocols that corporate networks have access to. So, either the company or the employee needs to take steps to protect company data.
Can My Home Network Be Hacked?
Yes, your home network can absolutely be hacked. Our home computing environments are certainly not as secure as our office ones. Also, if we are using our own laptops instead of work ones, we may not be using robust security to protect sensitive company information.
One common way hackers can get access to your home network is to guess the password. Routers often come with a default password that the manufacturer uses for all devices, and many times users don’t change this. A hacker only has to look up the default password associated with a particular router and can use it to gain access to all devices on the network.
In addition, hackers can also exploit security flaws in the router’s firmware. Since firmware is updated infrequently, hackers have all the time they need to discover and exploit security flaws before they’re fixed. According to a study by the American Consumer Institute (ACI), 83% of home WiFi routers are vulnerable to this kind of attack.
How Can I Protect My Home WiFi Network?
CNET recently published a great article which detailed ten things you can do to help protect your home network. These are a great starting point to learning exactly what needs to be done to keep company and personal data secure from unwanted eyes.
Place your router in a central location
One of the most important things is to place the router in the center of the home. Not only does this make the best quality connection, it also makes it harder for anyone outside your home to get a strong signal, and limits how far the signal can travel outside of your home.
Use a strong WiFi password and change it every six months
The best thing you can do to keep your WiFi network safe is to use a unique password that does not include any easily guessed passwords or phrases. This means no names, birthdays, phone numbers or other common information. And make sure to change this password at least once every six months.
Change the default router login credentials
You also want to make sure to keep anyone from accessing your router settings by changing the admin name and password for your router. These login credentials are separate from your WiFi password. You can access these by typing your router’s IP address in the URL bar of your browser.
Turn on your firewall and WiFi encryption
Your router has a firewall to prevent hacking, as well as encryption to keep anyone from stealing your data that’s being sent from your router to your connected devices. Check to make sure that both of these are enabled, and if they’re off for any reason, turn them back on.
Create a guest network
You probably trust the people you invite over to your house. But you should still consider creating a guest network for your visitors, as their devices or anything they download on your network could be infected with malware or viruses that could target your network. This guest network is also great for all of your IoT devices, such as your smart speakers or other appliances hooked up to your network, as these are usually more easily hackable than a computer or phone.
Keep your router and devices up to date
While software updates may be annoying, it’s important to keep them up to date. Updates often include security updates and patches for exposed vulnerabilities. Making sure you install all the latest updates to your router and devices ensures that you reduce your exposure to these vulnerabilities and have the best protection you can get from hackers.
Disable remote router access
Your router usually has the ability for someone to remotely access the settings. There’s usually no need to do this, unless you plan on being away from home for some time. You can disable these in your router’s admin settings.
Verify connected devices
From time to time, look at the devices attached to your network to make sure you recognize them. If anything looks suspicious, disconnect it and change your network password.
Upgrade to a WPA3 router
All new routers have WPA3, the latest security protocol. So if you have a new router, you don’t have to worry about this. But if you have a router that was made before 2018, you might have a WPA2 device. If you do, be sure to upgrade your router.
Use a VPN
Probably the best way to protect your home network and your company’s data is to invest in a strong, reliable VPN.
Our RemoteWorkForceVPN not only protects remote employees when accessing information from the Internet, but it also provides secure access to company resources and databases. RemoteWorkForceVPN can also securely connect your company’s branches worldwide.
If their company does not provide a business VPN, remote employees can use Private WiFi – our consumer offering – to protect their home wifi from hackers.
As we enter the brave new world of working primarily from home, make sure that you are doing everything you can to protect your home network from hackers by following these simple tips.