Protect your network
You do what you can to keep your home protected from break-ins -- you may even have a home security system -- but your computer network needs protection, too, says Christopher Budd, threats communications manager at Irving, Texas-based Trend Micro, a global security solutions provider.
"Home network routers are a particular area of vulnerability" to hackers, he says. Why? Because we don't often think to update their security.
To start, says Budd, make sure that network routers are password-protected -- and that you're not using factory-supplied default passwords. Second, make sure the network is updated.
If you don't know how to do it, you're not alone, says Budd. Most Americans don't, and it's hard to do solo. "In my career, I've had 30 professional certifications and I get nervous updating my router because if it goes badly, my home network is dead in the water," Budd says.
You have two options: Call your Internet provider and have them walk you through it, or hire a professional to do it for you. Budd recommends the latter.