Australians are known for being early and enthusiastic adopters of new technology. Whether it’s the Victa lawn mower that revolutionised the art of mowing the grass, video cassette technology (VHS – remember them?), Wi-fi (we invented that) or the internet itself – once we discover a technology that helps make our lives easier, we tend to make the most of it.
Which brings us to the internet. Now no one is saying the internet is a “new” technology per se, it’s been around since 1989. But it’s progressed rapidly in recent years, which brings us to today’s environment, where many of us live the large majority of our lives online.
Given that around 87% of Australians use the internet on a daily basis, network security or the safety of our home internet connections (and by extension our personal data), is more important than ever.
In the spirit of helping our readers make the most of the many wonders of digital technology, we’ve put together five handy cyber security tips so you can continue living your online life with greater peace of mind!
home cyber security tip #1: use a wi-fi password
Our first handy hint for better home cybersecurity is perhaps the most obvious of all – make sure you have a strong wi-fi password protecting your home network, so only you and those you trust can use your internet connection. Not only will this prevent nearby strangers (I.e. possibly some of your neighbours) freeloading on your data allowance, it will also add a layer of security against those with more sinister intent who may attempt to steal your data or infect your devices. What makes a strong wi-fi password?
- Use a combination of numbers and letters
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters
- Write your password down on paper and store it somewhere safe
home cyber security tip #2: ensure your devices have the latest security updates installed
With a solid wi-fi password in place, you’ve already achieved the first layer of proper home network security.
The key here is to ensure the software they operate is up-to-date and any security patches are in place.
Whilst Apple devices are renowned for avoiding most of the nasty viruses and malware that once plagued the internet, if you’re running devices on Windows it’s definitely worth investing in an solid anti-virus program which you can schedule to run daily.
home cyber security tip #3: use spam filters for your email accounts
Another important tip to maintain home internet security is to ensure all your email accounts have proper spam filters, to separate questionable and possibly malicious messages from your general inbox.
Whilst most modern email providers such as Gmail already have powerful spam filters in-built into their system including malware filters, it still pays to be vigilant when receiving emails from sources you don’t know, especially those requesting personal information or with questionable links. One simple rule of thumb to follow – if in doubt, don’t open and delete!
home cyber security tip #4: be careful what you share online
Love taking a good selfie to share with your thousands of Insta followers? No problem, that’s all well and good.
When it comes to sound home cyber security practices however, even the strongest most complex wifi passwords, the most sophisticated spam filters and the most up-to-date software won’t protect your personal data if you overshare sensitive personal information on social media.
It all comes down to common sense. If you wouldn’t share certain information in public to complete strangers, you certainly shouldn’t post it online. Other handy tips relevant to social media include:
- Set your account settings to private so only your online “friends” can see what you post
- Don’t share your home address and phone number publically on your profile
- Only befriend online people you know or whose ID you can verify
home cyber security tip #5: back up your data regularly
Our final home cybersecurity tip is to back up all the data on your home network and do it regularly. Whether it be via an external hard drive or through a cloud-based server account – following this step will give you extra peace of mind, knowing should your laptop or smartphone suffer a cataclysmic failure, all your photos, videos and important documents will still be safe and easily accessible.
As an added bonus, backing up your data also means you can easily store it elsewhere (external hard drive or cloud-based server), freeing up precious hard drive space for even more cat videos or happy holiday snaps!