While smartphones and other internet connected devices in today’s “smart home” have made staying connected with family near and far easier, they’ve also made it easier to have your network breached by a hacker.

Households have an average of 9.1 connected internet devices and that number is only going up as more technology like voice assistants, smart watches, door bell security cameras, and more are introduced… all connected online and all offering a way in for a cybercriminal.

Have you experience random popups on your computer? Felt some process was running in the background and making your device slow, but you couldn’t find the reason? There’s a chance that malware, spyware, or another malicious software infection is the culprit.

People in the Kansas City area call Jason Michalek when they fear a virus, malware, or other network breach, because our team offers expert in-home virus removal that cleans your device and ensures your home network is safe from an unwanted intruder.

In 2017, there were 31,000 reported victims affected by personal data breaches. (Insurance Information Institute)

If you’re thinking that hackers only go after businesses or that you’re not a big enough target for them, statistics show otherwise. Residential computer networks are a common target because they’re typically not well protected.

How Do Hackers Get In?

While you may think you’re fully protected if you have an anti-virus or anti-malware program installed, that’s just one entry point for hackers. Often, they’re using an automated system trying multiple types of entry points to gain access.

Here are some of the high-risk areas for breaches of your computer and home network:

  • Phishing emails (still the #1 delivery method for malware and viruses)
  • Phishing social media messages or texts (the evolved form of phishing)
  • Unsecure mobile apps
  • Operating systems that haven’t been updated
  • Wi-Fi networks & computers with easy-to-hack passwords
  • Sharing settings that allow in unwanted intruders
  • Websites that trick you into downloading a malicious script

So, what kind of damage can be done and how can you protect yourself and your family from a hacker intrusion? Read on to learn the main dangers of a home data breach and how to protect against them.

What Should You Do to Protect Against a Home Data Intrusion?

There was another story in the news recently about a hacker breaching a family’s baby monitor and watching while everyone was asleep. It’s enough to make a family think about going back to an older analog technology that isn’t internet connected.

But you don’t have to go back in time to keep your family secure. Our Home IT Security Team often helps households secure their home devices and Wi-Fi so they can enjoy all that technology has to offer, while also staying safe.

Here’s what to watch out for and ways to stay protected:

Compromised Financial Information

A key target of data breaches is your financial information. Cyber crooks are looking for bank login passwords or saved credit card information that they can exploit, using it themselves or selling it on the dark web.

How to Protect Yourself: An easy solution is to use 2-factor authentication on any financial accounts (banks, PayPal, iTunes, etc…) which sends you a code via text or email to be entered after your normal login before you can gain entry.

Keystrokes and Passwords

Spyware is often used to record every keystroke you make to gain access to login passwords of all types. You often won’t even know the spyware is there, as it’s meant to stay incognito.

How to Protect Yourself: The best protection in this case is a regular virus scan of your system (and make sure it’s a legitimate one!). We provide affordable virus/malware scanning and removal services, to ensure there’s nothing lurking around in your computer that you don’t know about.

Security Cameras and Baby Monitors

Voice and video cameras for baby monitors or those new doorbell security cams are popular but can also be used by cyber criminals to watch and listen in on your family. When you’re going on vacation or any other sensitive information can be used against you, plus it’s just incredibly creepy to imagine a stranger watching your family.

How to Protect Yourself: Don’t use the default passwords on your Wi-Fi router or any cameras or monitors and change them to hard passwords with at least 7-10 characters which are a combination of letter, numbers, and symbols. Also, keep any cam software updated regularly (those updates often contain security patches).

Ransomware and Lost Data

Ransomware attacks are a popular way for hackers to get a few hundred or thousand dollars off unsuspecting victims. They use a malicious script to lock you out of your data by encrypting it. Then they demand a ransom to restore access to your files.

How to Protect Yourself: Having a reliable backup of your entire system, including both files and software, is the best defense against a ransomware attack. This also ensures you won’t lose anything important if your device is damaged or lost. Cloud-backups are very affordable and can be accessed from anywhere with any device.

Need Help with Home Network & Device Security?

Is there an unknown virus or spyware lurking on your computer? Do you want to make your router password more secure, but aren’t sure how?

Jason Michalek provides friendly, trusted, and affordable virus removal, IT security help, and computer repairs within a 25-mile radius of Kansas City, and we make house calls!

Make sure your home’s secure by setting up an appointment today.