Home Computer Security Hygiene

We’ve discussed email issues, password issues, thing specific to credit agencies, the last topic will be good computer security hygiene.

What is the KRACK hack?

Recently it was reported that secure wifi connections can be hacked.  It’s a sophisticated hack that can theoretically happen to your home network but someone would have to be very nearby (like nextdoor) and have a lot of equipment dedicated to hacking you.  What this bug points out *AGAIN* is that lots of code is reused and available for anyone to inspect (it’s called open source code).  When a bug is found in this code it could affect almost every internet device around.  To solve it requires a software update.

Solutions to the KRACK hack:

  1.  Wait for software updates to your computers, Ipads, Androids, Iphones and tablets and routers.
  2. Use HTTPS by default on every browser, every web address
  3. Use a VPN to access the web

Install a virus checker that automatically updates

For both Mac and PC users you should have a virus checker, and it should be automatically updated, and it’s virus checking file should also be automatically updated.

Update your hardware and software

In 2017, most software and hardware distributed to you has a large percentage of open sourced software.  This software is free but it also means it’s open to examination by hackers.  Most hacking attacks today are closed by companies distributing out new software releases.  This means you need to have your computers, smartphones, tablets, home routers, internet connected thermostats, kept up to date.  Yes, that means installing a new software release when it is released and not waiting 2 years.  Also never let a computer, smartphone, or tablet go out of support; even if that means painful upgrades.

Iphones and apple tablets can be set to automatically upgrade, I’d suggest this for any device that can be automatically upgraded.

Update your home router

With the latest WIFI vunerability, log into your home router and see if there is a firmware or software update.  Just as an aside, while your logged in you might consider changing the default password.  Every router ships with a default password, my wife laughs when we rent a vacation condo and the owners forget to tell us the wifi password; no problem, google ‘netgear default password’ and bingo I’m logged in with an ethernet cable to my portable computer.  You’re only exposed if someone has an ethernet cable that they can connect to your home router.

Don’t change the configuration of your home router unless you understand what your doing

Specifically changing adding tcp/ip ports to access your local network could end up in a disaster.  On every network you connect to: Comcast, AT&T, Sonic, etc. bad actors are trolling your internet connection looking for holes.  Don’t give them any.

Don’t purchase/get rid of non-updatable equipment

A recent million computer simultaneous attack happened from internet connected video cameras that have a fixed username and password which is not updatable.  Some cheaper android tablets are not software updatable, older apple tablets are no longer supported.

Don’t install a website on your home network

You will have your home computer hacked.

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