Protecting your home network and digital information is absolutely vital. There are a number of common scenarios that may threaten your security or digital possessions; phishing emails, which are designed to dupe us into providing sensitive details; orchestrated hacks, which are aimed at accessing secure information to use fraudulently; other internet users who may try and use your personal details and profiles to destroy your reputation or access secure information; and the unleashing of viruses, which can have catastrophic consequences on your home and work networks. The digital world is an utter minefield; while it can be completely safe and convenient to store everything on your home network, would you know how to protect it thoroughly? Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of home network and mobile systems, though, is a blasé attitude. Never assume that the worst won’t happen to you. Systems such as Wi-Fi networks and personal clouds can be absolutely perfect for keeping your worlds in sync, but they are also among the most vulnerable aspects of your life.
Of course one of the highest profile privacy cases in recent years has been the phone hacking scandal; accusations about the credibility of journalists’ sources, and rumours of phone hacking to garner information for stories had been rife for a while, but it wasn’t until campaigners and celebrities such as Max Mosley brought cases against News Group Newspapers Ltd that the extent of the problem was realised. Max’s own case, which he brought against the News of the World, was a little different; he accused the newspaper group of invading his privacy by viewing and publishing private information gained by nefarious means, rather than hacking his phone. As more recent cases of phone hacking and journalists purchasing information come to light, though, it has been the work of Max Mosley and similar campaigners that have exposed these newspapers and their means and helped to publicise the vulnerability of our private lives if somebody really wanted to ‘dig up dirt.’ Privacy interviews with Max Mosley, which were published around the time of his case in 2008, offer insight into the things we can do to protect ourselves, as well as highlight the problem of data fraud and security breaches, so never feel alone if this has happened to you.
Protecting your home network from the outside world
One of the first things you need to be aware of is what is happening on your own home network; always treat it as an asset, something to be tended and protected, rather than a luxury. It is essential to learn the ins and outs of your network’s function, know who has access or would be able to fraudulently access your information, and understand the steps you’d need to take to protect all that you hold dear. Anti-virus software and firewalls are vital to home network protection, as is password protecting your wireless internet; vulnerable Wi-Fi networks are always open to attacks, while your stored files could easily be accessed, whether purposefully or not. The key is to expose the threat before it exposes you; never open emails from unknown sources, only access links that you trust, and always be savvy when it comes to entering your details online. Ask yourself first if it is really necessary.
They used to say that an Englishman’s home was his castle. These days, however, it is perhaps more apt to say that an “Englishman’s home network is his castle”; after all, while our houses may keep us warm, offer us protection from the elements, and provide accommodation for our belongings, it is becoming increasingly apparent that it is our home networks, Wi-Fi and cloud storage, that are being trusted with our most valuable possessions. From access to banking, online shopping accounts, photographs, videos, and work-related information, we are increasingly reliant upon the internet and its digital storage options. It can, therefore, be devastating to fall victim to a security breach, whether it’s a phishing email, episode of malicious hacking, or data theft and fraud. Would you know how to protect yourself?