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5 ways your home network can be exposed

by jcp

The below article is provided on behalf of Marco De Angelis, co-founder and Head of Fing Consumer, part of IT Asset Management software provider, Lansweeper.

The past 18 months have seen many of us working from home on a network that most likely isn’t as secure as our office networks. This is why there has been a spike in cybercrime targeting home networks and why the need for protection on your home network is now more important than ever.

Our digital lives now connect work, entertainment, and even our household appliances. As such, our homes must be protected to prevent access to our project files, our family albums, our web cameras etc.

The first, small step to strengthen our home networks is to be aware of what’s on it, and then to run regular check-ups to help find potential security issues before they become a problem for the whole household.

Cyberattacks are best to be prevented rather than reacted to, and it is now more important than ever to have the right solutions in place to know and understand your household IT assets in order to ensure they are secure.

As we said goodbye to Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are five common ways in which home networks are being exposed and, more importantly, how to prevent them from being exposed in the first place.

  • Bandwidth Thieves

Not all cyber criminals are out to steal your personal data, just like not all criminals are murderers – some cyber criminals might just want to steal some of your bandwidth to boost their own.

We can all sympathise with the frustration rising from having a slow Internet connection. General fixes include improvising your cables, upgrading your router or calling IT support – be that from your business or just more knowledgeable family members. Have you considered that someone is stealing your bandwidth? And how do you find out?

Networking software tools can continuously monitor and scan your network giving you status updates and ensuring that nothing gets through without you being notified. Is there an unknown device on your network that is taking up a lot of bandwidth? If there is, you’ll be able to see it and stop it. 

  • Rogue Devices or Intruders

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected homes, everything from coffee machines to thermostats and alarm clocks can be connected to your network. Smart homes bring a lot of convenience, but also a lot of potential security risks as these devices are harder to manage and lack the same security your phones, laptops, tablets or desktop may have.

With a network monitoring application you can discover, recognize and scan every device that is linked to your home network. This is a great way to find rogue devices from hackers.

  • Hacked Devices

These applications can list the details of any device connected to your home network – allowing you to check the names of devices and their IP/ MAC addresses. This can help you to identify any new or unwanted devices and manage your own devices.

For instance, if you spot a new device with an unfamiliar name, it may be a rogue device. Or if you see that one of your devices changed its IP address, it might be a hacked device. You can then choose to either remove this device from your network or to restore your ownership.

  • Network Vulnerabilities

The more advanced network monitoring tools will go beyond simply detecting and alerting you to existing or incoming threats. They can also proactively inform you of possible vulnerabilities in your network by identifying all open ports that may be vulnerable to external access –  giving you the option to close them if you wish. This increased visibility of your vulnerabilities will stop cybercriminals before they can hijack your network.

  • Hidden Cameras

Perhaps one of the most intrusive methods of being hacked is a criminal planting hidden cameras in your home. Hidden cameras are no longer limited to computer webcams with clandestine equipment evolving all the time. The smallest spy camera today is smaller than a coin and can be cleverly hidden away. That makes it incredibly hard to find.

Network monitoring software can scan your network exclusively for video monitoring devices. No matter where they are hiding or how small they are, with the right security software they can be detected and disbaled.

With the right home network security in place you can create a home cyber defence unit to monitor and protect your network, allowing you to rest easy knowing your network is safe and secure.

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