In today’s digital world, it’s astounding how much information we share online, willingly or unwittingly. Sensitive personal information, banking passwords, work-related documents, credit cards, and similar information are constantly transferred from computers and smartphones to online services without most people giving the process a second thought. Without a secure internet connection, you’re putting that information at risk. Fortunately, following some basic cybersecurity strategies helps keep internet threats at bay.
Why is Internet Security Important?
Without a secure internet connection, your network and personal information are at risk. Unauthorized users can access unprotected Wi-Fi connections, piggybacking off your internet signal for free and slowing your bandwidth. More alarmingly, those same people could use an unsecured connection to hack into your files, acquiring enough information to commit financial fraud or identity theft.
Other internet threats capable of taking advantage of an unsecured connection include malware: malicious programs that search for personal information or take control of computer functions. Phishing scams, which send emails pretending to originate from reputable companies, can also take advantage of an unsecured network by including links that install malware.
Cybersecurity protects against internet threats using several tactics, including strong passwords, firewalls, and antiviral software. A secure internet connection uses these and other tools to prevent such hazards from accessing your network.
Benefits of Securing Your Internet Connection
Protection Against Cyberattacks
A cyberattack is a malicious attempt to access a computer or network. A cyberattack’s intent may be to steal personal information, access financial records, disable targeted computers, or hijack computers to launch attacks on other systems.
Cyberattacks take advantage of security vulnerabilities in software and unsecured networks. A secure internet connection prevents cyberattackers from accessing your network. Think of it like a deadbolt on your front door—it makes access much more difficult.
Online privacy is important, whether you’re sending business documents to your main office or texting with your grandmother. A secure internet connection uses encryption to send information from your network. Encryption digitally scrambles data during transmission, so it’s only viewable by you and the intended recipient.
Imagine for a moment if someone gained access to your bank account or the financial information of your business customers. It’s a scary thought and one that can quickly become reality without proper internet security. Cybersecurity protects banking information and other data thieves can use to steal money or commit financial fraud.
Parents need to consider who—and what—their children will run into online. While there’s plenty of great content for kids on the internet, it’s easy for a child to access disturbing and age-inappropriate images and videos. Children may also encounter predators online or become the target of cyberbullying.
Most modems include parental controls, which can improve your family’s internet security when used correctly. Knowing how to access and change parental internet settings gives you more control over what your children can or cannot see online.
Uninterrupted Online Experience
Hackers, cyberattacks, and other internet threats disrupt your online experience. Proper cybersecurity prevents interruptions so you can enjoy your internet connection without worrying about online threats.
Tips for Securing Your Internet Connection
How do you secure your internet connection? The following tips help you work and play online.
Use Strong and Unique Passwords
Your network password is your network's first line of defense. Strong passwords are vital for internet security and should include a mixture of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. The longer your password and the more complex, the better, especially for a network connection. Avoid using dictionary words or anything with ties to your personal information.
You won’t need to input your network password all the time. Setting devices to remember the password and connect automatically is easy. For anyone outside your network, however, a strong password is a major hurdle.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds an extra layer of security to online accounts and networks by requiring more than just a username and password. When you log in, 2FA texts a one-time password to your phone. Without the one-time passcode, a user cannot access the account.
Keep Software and Devices Updated
Software, modems, and routers receive periodic updates to address security concerns and block vulnerabilities. Ignoring updates puts you at risk of internet threats. It’s safer to set up automatic updates instead of manually approving updates.
Utilize Secure Wi-Fi Connections
Tablets, smartphones, and other portable devices can connect to unsecure public networks. Wi-Fi available at airports, coffee shops, malls, and similar locations are often unsecured. Ideally, avoid connecting to unsecured networks when you’re on the go, as they have significant security vulnerabilities.
Install and Maintain Antivirus/Malware Software
Antivirus software scans and deletes malicious programs from your computer and is an essential part of proper cybersecurity. Like any software, antivirus programs require periodic updates to be efficient, as viruses and malware constantly evolve.
Be Cautious with Email and Links
We mentioned phishing earlier. A malicious type of spam, phishing emails and texts appear to come from reputable organizations, but link to fake log-in pages designed to steal usernames and passwords. Many phishing emails contain spelling mistakes and other indications the message is fake, but others are more sophisticated, with counterfeit landing pages that look exactly like the webpage they pose as.
The best way to avoid phishing scams is to not click on message links and instead navigate to the company’s actual website through your browser before logging in. You may want to contact a company if they’re being impersonated by a phishing scam, but again, don’t contact them through links or phone numbers in the message. Find their contact information through a trusted source instead.
Regularly Back Up Your Data
Your data isn’t just vulnerable to hackers and malware. Floods, power surges, or catastrophic hardware failures can wipe out years of photos, documents, and other information. Backing up your data keeps it safe from unexpected disasters. You can back up data onto USB drives or upload a copy of your data to a cloud server like Google Drive.
Educate Yourself and Your Family
Internet threats often succeed by targeting one of the greatest vulnerabilities to a secure internet connection: human error. Phishing scams and malicious websites rely on people not recognizing them as a threat. You’ll be much safer online if you stay up-to-date on cybersecurity issues and educate your family about online risks.
Tools and Technologies for Internet Security
Several tools are available to help you improve your internet security, including:
Firewalls monitor network traffic, allowing or blocking traffic based on security rules you set. Many routers and modems include firewall capabilities.
Secure Browsing Extensions
Secure browsing extensions are software designed to modify web browsers. Extensions can manage web page cookies, block ads, and store passwords. Only install browser extensions from trusted sources, as third-party extensions can contain malware, and only use them if you have antivirus software installed and updated.
Strong passwords are difficult to remember. A password manager stores passwords securely so you can assign strong, unique passwords to all your online accounts. Some web browsers and antiviral programs include built-in password managers.
Hughesnet internet plans include installation and support for network routers and modems, so you can be sure your network is as secure as possible. For more information, check out Hughesnet Reviews, or explore how the internet has changed the world.