If you had to define what constitutes a good home security strategy, what sorts of things would you likely consider? You might think about preventing burglary and home invasion. You might consider the dual risks of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Even the potential for spring floods and medical emergencies might be on your mind. But what about cybersecurity? Should it be part of an overall home security strategy?
At least one home security company thinks so. Vivint Smart Home, one of the leading providers of home automation and home security in the U.S., recently published a rather lengthy post explaining to readers how they can improve their own cybersecurity at home. It is a very informative piece. At its heart is the fact that the majority of U.S. households have broadband internet access.
A Highway In and Out
The internet is often referred to as an information highway. But just like an actual highway you drive on this information highway has lanes that run in both directions. It brings information into your house. But it also takes information out. Therein lies the issue when it comes to cybersecurity.
Information is the commodity cybersecurity thieves are after. They use all sorts of information to do a variety of things including stealing identities and raiding corporate networks. Everything they do is motivated by money. A thief makes money by stealing your identity and then using it to make purchases, open lines of credit, etc. But that same can also make money by locking down a company network and requiring a ransom to unlock it.
What makes cybercrime so interesting is how it is accomplished. There are certainly some sophisticated ways to get the information a hacker needs to do what he does. But more often than not, victims unwittingly supply that information. Criminals do not have to work extremely hard to get it.
Many Kinds of Cybercrime
As Vivint explains in their post, cybercrime comes in many forms. In a home environment, you are looking at things like:
- Hacking – Criminals break into a home network to steal information from devices on that network.
- Identity Theft – Criminals use a variety of means to steal personally identifying information including Social Security numbers, birthdates, etc.
- Phishing – Phishing attacks rely on social engineering to get people to volunteer their personal information. Email is generally the way phishing is accomplished.
- Online Scams – Online scams targeting people who aren’t familiar with internet technology can net scammers millions.
As for what people can do to prevent being victimized, it depends on the type of cybercrime you are talking about. Yet there is one rule that applies to all of them: being cautious about how you use technology. A few key things can go a long way toward preventing cybercrime.
Usernames and Passwords
Cybersecurity experts have been telling us for years to be careful about our usernames and passwords. Vivint echoes that sentiment in their post. They recommend never using the default usernames and passwords that come with new devices. Always change them. They also recommend passwords of between 10-15 characters that contain letters, numbers, and special characters.
There are plenty of additional tips this post can offer. However, you can find them all over the internet. The point being made here is that cybersecurity is now part of home security. Given that the internet is so important to daily life and that nearly every home is connected to it, commonsense dictates that a good home security strategy considers cybersecurity threats as well. You’re only as safe as the information entering and leaving your home.