Protecting Today’s Vulnerable Connections: Simple Steps You Can Take to Improve Security at Home and Work

If you’re anything like the average internet user, you likely take your connection for granted. Most users prioritize convenience above all else, leaving them vulnerable to a variety of security hazards.

Even seemingly secure connections can be rife with danger. Without strict security protocols, it can be shockingly easy for hackers to attack. KU Leuven researcher and security expert Mathy Vanhoef insists that all Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable, with the most sophisticated hackers using novel techniques to “read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.”

Thankfully, while the risk of breaches never disappears, a variety of advanced protocols can be implemented to reduce the potential for an attack. Below, we‘re highlighting a few of the most effective security measures worth pursuing for your home or business.

The Role of Password Protection and Remote Management

Password protection is woefully lacking for most internet users. A complex password can provide a surprisingly strong initial defense, and yet, users continue to cling to the weakest options imaginable – and resist change even when they know it’s imperative.

An alarming report published by LastPass reveals that 91 percent of users recognize the risk of using the same password for multiple accounts – and 59 percent continue to do so anyway. Many complain of the struggle to remember constantly changing passwords, but this problem can easily be solved through the use of a dedicated password manager.

Another concern? Passwords that go beyond “typical” user accounts. We’re well aware of the need for regular changes to our email, bank, and social media passwords, but what about the equipment intended to protect our connections at home and work? Default passwords for routers, in particular, are highly vulnerable. However, many people have no idea that this password warrants changing.

Users abide by the status quo not only with router passwords but also for remote management settings. When enabled, remote management makes it shockingly easy for attackers to access vulnerable networks from a distance. From there, they can view sensitive data, change configurations, or upload undesirable programs.

New Security Risks Accompanying the Internet of Things: How a DMZ Router Can Help

Already alarming security issues are that much more urgent given the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, both households and workplaces contain dozens of connected devices, which, like computers and smartphones, can be compromised easily. Unfortunately, many of the IoT devices currently on the market are almost completely lacking in security. Those produced by trusted manufacturers have ramped up protections in recent years but relying on the device alone will not prove sufficient.

Thankfully, it’s possible to isolate IoT devices and their associated risks onto separate networks, which should purposefully be kept apart from your business or home’s main network. This can be accomplished with a DMZ host, which can be applied to a variety of routers.

The DMZ host’s full name – demilitarized zone – may seem intimidating, but in reality, this option is perfectly acceptable for use within private homes and small businesses. This unique host adds an extra layer of security to local area networks (LANs), allowing external nodes to only access anything exposed within the DMZ. Meanwhile, the remainder of the network remains guarded by a firewall. This delivers additional time for detection, ensuring that breaches are addressed long before they reach internal networks.

Dealing with Public Connections: The Power of the Virtual Private Network

Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to make your private connections as secure as possible, you’ll want to come up with a reliable approach for public connections. After all, chances are you won’t exclusively use the internet at home or work. While the average connection is slightly more secure today than it was a few years ago, most remain woefully under-protected. Hence, the need for a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A strong VPN can be used to connect your device to a remote server. It essentially acts as a tunnel between these two points, routing all traffic to conceal it from prying eyes. As traffic exits this server, it appears to share its IP address. This ensures that your identity and location are fully disguised.

A wide array of VPNs are available at various costs and are accompanied by different levels of security. Favorites include NordVPN and ExpressVPN, which rely on the OpenVPN standard. Top VPN solutions are typically inexpensive. Free options, however, are best avoided, as most fail to provide even the most basic degree of protection that users require.

VPNs are helpful for public networks, but they can also be used for private connections. When installed on a compatible router, a strong VPN can shield traffic from your home or workplace. This simple step can dramatically improve security across a broad array of devices.

The Bottom Line

From router passwords to VPNs, numerous options can be called on to level up digital security at your home or business. The best part? Many are quite simple to implement. With more complicated measures, however, you can rely on a computer security company in McKinney and Frisco, TX to help you prevent data breaches. Additionally, business data backup can provide much-needed peace of mind, should the worst-case scenario arise.

Contact NerdsToGo for Reliable IT Services

We get it – cybersecurity is complicated. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. At NerdsToGo, we’re proud to offer a variety of residential and business technology services for our valued customers in McKinney, Frisco, and nearby areas of TX. Our nerds can play a valuable role in upgrading your computer to keep potential security issues at bay. We use a personalized, hands-on approach to ensure that you feel completely confident with your network security. Convenience is also guaranteed – our Nerds come directly to your location!

If you require computer services in Frisco and McKinney, TX, you can count on NerdsToGo to identify and implement effective solutions. We can use remote data management, advanced firewalls, and a variety of other cybersecurity solutions to keep your most sensitive data safe. Stop by our business IT services page to learn more – or call us at 496-325-3912 to schedule an onsite appointment with our helpful and highly skilled Nerds.