Personal Cybersecurity – How Secure Are You?
Normally I talk about how to setup your work network to be more secure. Today, I want to talk about your personal security. Not physical security, but virtual security. Most people do not want to tinker with their home network. I don’t blame you, neither do I. I just want my home network to work… mostly because if it breaks, then all the kids will come running wondering why the sky is falling.
But for personal technology, there are some practical steps that will help make you more secure.
First, sign up for https://haveibeenpwned.com. This is a website run by Troy Hunt, a security researcher, who notifies people if their data has been compromised. If your data does become part of a breach, you will get an email letting you know. This can be extremely helpful, because some sites have your data even though you have never setup an account with them. It is better to know than not know.
Second sign up for a password manager. Use Lastpass, 1Password, Dashlane, etc they are all good. Unless you have a little black book at home with all your passwords, and those passwords are different. If that is the case, you are fine. However, a majority of people create 4-7 passwords that they re-use all over the Internet. This is an extremely bad idea. Some people will argue that having all your passwords in a manager is dangerous, but having the same few passwords in a number of places is even more dangerous.
Now that your passwords are secure, you need to make sure if someone does get one, they can’t get into your account. I want you to put two-factor on everything. Your email, bank, twitter, Facebook, and that newly created passwords manager account. Many sites allow you to “trust” a computer, so once you have logged in from that computer, you don’t need two-factor again. If possible, use either an app like google authenticator (free) or email verification. While SMS/text verification is ok, it only costs a couple of dollars for someone to mirror your text data, so it really won’t prevent someone going specifically after you.
Okay, now that you know if your data has been compromised and your passwords are secure, it is time to secure your network. All of those Internet of Things devices, Cameras, TVs, Smart Things, etc. need to be looked at and a majority should be moved to separate IoT network. My rule of thumb is if I need to connect to the device through my network, then keep it on my internal network. For example, I stream from my phone to my Apple TV through my network, so I will need to keep that on my normal network. Since my smart light switches connect through an app on the phone, and that goes to the cloud, I can put that on a separate network.
What you don’t want to do is allow hackers to compromise an insecure piece of equipment because the manufacturer of the equipment wasn’t security focused. If they are able to get into the device, they could potentially get into your network and your computer. So, you will want to create two networks on your internal Wi-Fi. Most home routers will let you do this. The routers normally have a guest and a regular Wi-Fi. Just rename the guest to IoT, or whatever you like and move the devices to it. It will take a couple of hours to move all your devices, but once done, you will be much more secure. Those IoT devices will run fine and you will know you are safe because they are on a separate network.