MBIT Web Design

Online safety at home

The internet is everywhere, in a world where you can get free Wifi but not food, the youth of today are growing up with a galaxy of information and tools, at their fingertips. 

I remember seeing Windows 95 for the first time, thinking wow. Then being bowled over with Windows 98 and our first dial up connection. As a kid I was never into computers or game consoles. I didnt understand what the internet was; and if I had homework to research something, it was done in a library. Or id rent a video on the subject and wing it.

Now at 35, with a family of my own, I am responsible for ensuring that they remain safe both in and out of the house. And people, it is hard. There was a time, where if the kids were in the house, they were safe. But now, with online bullying, predators, hackers and everything inbetween, I have had to up my game. Fortunatly, over the years I have made a career in the IT industry and understand more than most, what is out there and what can be prevented.

This post will hopefully help guide you through the online minefield to protec you and yours from all but the most dedicated threats and intruders.

Firstly, having an internet connection in your house is like swapping the walls for clear glass windows and inviting the world to come take a look. So lets begin to first of all to look at the “front door”. The router.

Router - Front Door

These come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure you change the default password to something that cant be guessed. Special characters, upper and lower case letters and numbers all help create a strong password. Next is the encryption, make sure it is set to at the very least WPA. Leaving it as NONE is not wise.

Devices - Back Door

Now your “front door” is locked, lets look at what hangs off  your local network. Anything that connects to the internet is a potential back door. Phones, tablets, computers, SMART TV, games consoles all can be hacked. Make sure they have up to date virus protection and updates installed and that where possible you scan for threats. There is no point having the most secure computer, if your tablet is open for the world to hack. Most devices have a child profile, this further ties down the device and its capabilities. Its designed to protect children, so my advice. Use it.

Webcams and IP Cameras - Windows and walls.

Did you know that most IP cameras have a default username and password AND have their own IP address? Change any default credentials to make sure you are the only one viewing your prized posessions. Webcams are also vulnerable. Where possible, either dissable the camera when not in use or simply tape over if. The link at the bottom is to the Shodan website. This is like Google for internet devices.

Finally to add a security system. Thats you. Virus protection, updates and a basic knowledge of how all your devices connect to the internet will help keep the nasties out.

My final bit of advice (for now) is that education and conversation go a long way. Take an interest in what your kids are doing online and what games they are playing. Did you know that most games on the google and amazon playstore have online content, such as chat? My next post will focus on these kinds of games and features; and will look who and what is avaialble out there, that can help.

Here is a link to the Shodan website. The internet of internet devices. See for yourself how easy it is to find IP based devices such as security cameras and monitors.

https://www.shodan.io/

Posted 67 weeks ago