How Can I Protect My Internet Connection from Hackers?

How Can I Protect My Internet Connection from Hackers?

Tue, Nov 14, 2023 10:17 PM

Internet Bundles

How Can I Protect My Internet Connection from Hackers?

Whether you're a casual internet user or run a small business with sensitive data online, it's important to take basic precautions securing your network connection and devices from potential digital threats. In this article, we'll explore some proactive steps anyone can take to help defend against hackers and reduce vulnerabilities.


Use a Reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Choosing an established name like AT&T, Spectrum, Cox or Xfinity for your internet service provides inherent protection right off the bat. Larger companies have dedicated security teams constantly monitoring for intrusions and updating infrastructure. They're also less likely targets than lesser-known small ISPs which hackers may see as easier prey. Stick with a leading nationwide provider for a robust starting defense.


Install a Hardware Firewall

A hardware firewall contains your network by filtering inbound and outbound traffic passing through your internet modem or router. Lower-cost options like the TP-Link AC1750 or Netgear Nighthawk X4S keep intruders from freely accessing devices on your local network. Make sure to enable settings controlling port forwarding and DMZ exposure which if misconfigured, open vulnerabilities. An extra layer of hardware rules strengthens your network perimeter.


Related: Signs Your Router Was Hacked and How to Fix It


Use Strong, Unique Passwords

It's shocking how many people still rely on simple passwords that take mere seconds for hackers to crack. Avoid using personal details, pet names or dictionary words, instead opting for random character strings at least 12 characters in length. And never reuse passwords across multiple accounts - a single breach elsewhere puts all your logins at risk if passwords aren't distinct. With a good password manager, strong protection is effortless.


Related: How to Change Xfinity WiFi Password?


Patch Operating Systems and Software Promptly

The majority of hacks occur by exploiting known software vulnerabilities that lazy users fail to patch in a timely manner. Stay up to date applying all available updates and patches from your operating system provider as well as any programs with internet access like browsers, VPN apps, utilities and more. Most updates happen automatically these days, but check manually if needed to avoid giving hackers a foothold.


Employ a VPN for Public Wi-Fi Networks

Free public connections at coffee shops, libraries and airports make easy targets for bad actors performing "man in the middle" attacks to steal logins and banking details. When using public Wi-Fi, ensure all your traffic is securely encrypted by connecting through a VPN like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. No one will be able to snoop on communications or access what you're doing without bypassing the VPN's encryption first.


Utilize Two-Factor Authentication

Online services like email, banking, shopping and social media should all require something more than just a password to log in. Enabling two-factor authentication via an authenticator app or text message makes accounts exponentially more difficult for attackers to access even if your password is somehow stolen. Don't skip this critical extra layer of security wherever it's available.


Beware of Phishing Scams

Most data thefts begin with seemingly legitimate but falsified emails, texts, calls or websites seeking personal information for nefarious purposes. Be skeptical of unsolicited contacts and avoid clicking links or opening attachments from unfamiliar senders. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive details over unverified channels. There's no prize, refund or support issue worth compromising your security. Delete immediately and move on.


Use Antivirus and Anti-Malware Protection

Free basic options from makers like McAfee, Norton or Windows Defender routinely catch malware, but robust paid services like Kaspersky Total Security provide deeper network-wide defenses including anti-phishing, spam filtering and PC optimization tools. Scan files routinely and enable real-time protections - with so much "zero day" malware, detection is critical before damage occurs. A good solution safeguards all your connected devices.


Wisely Employ Home IoT Technologies

"Smart" appliances uncontrolled can pose invitation not just for identity theft, but physical harm too. Isolate devices on dedicated subnets, change default passwords, apply firmware patches, and research reputable makes before use. Consider a standalone router just for IoT traffic away from your main network. Basic cautions prevent convenience from causing greater calamities down the road should hackers hijack unsecured "smart" cameras or thermostats for example.


Monitor Accounts for Unauthorized Access

Most major credential leaks become public knowledge, so search your main emails and aliases on HaveIBeenPwned regularly. Also check statements for fraudulent charges and credit reports for inquiries/opens. Set banking and other transaction apps to notify of activities so prompt response minimizes damage from stolen passwords. Make preventive security a lifelong vigilance in our connected digitized world.


With diligence, even basic protective steps make networks exponentially harder targets, forcing less ethical actors elsewhere. By maintaining awareness and following best practices, users stay securely confident conducting lives and businesses online. Contact an expert for installation guidance tailored to specific needs. Overall vigilance and knowledge build assurance against modern threats.

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