March 2020 Multimedia Jane Willow

As home prices in the US continue to rise, more Americans are thinking about houseboat living as an alternative to buying homes or apartments, particularly in urban areas where prices have skyrocketed. Houseboat communities are popping up in various places across the country, with people looking to take advantage of not only the lower prices that houseboats have but also the freedom they give them to move around whenever they please. However, just like ordinary homes, houseboats are susceptible to the growing threat of cybercrime. As long as your houseboat is connected to the internet, you are at risk of cyberattacks, which is why you need to take steps to enhance cybersecurity and protect your personal data from malicious attacks. 

Change default logins and passwords

Most network devices have pre-configured usernames and passwords to simplify setup procedures. These default credentials are often not secure as they can be easily found on the internet and may even be labeled on the device itself. Leaving them unchanged creates opportunities for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to your sensitive information or install malicious software. While changing your credentials, make sure you're using strong and unique passwords that cannot be cracked. While at it, avoid reusing your passwords; if someone discovers your password, they can use it to access your social media, email, work systems, or banking information so it's better to keep them separate. You can also use multi-factor authentication as a way to verify your identity beyond the initial username and password. 

Be wary of public networks

Most houseboat communities provide public Wi-Fi to attract more people. As you move around in your houseboat, you might find yourself having to use public networks every now and then, especially if you don't have a personal network installed. If you can, avoid using any public networks but if you must use them, always do some due diligence to ensure that they are secure. You can confirm the network's name and log-in procedures from the owner before connecting. While on public networks, do not connect to any website that has any of your sensitive information such as your banking portal or credit card management website. 

Always click with caution 

Whether you're installing an app, downloading files, visiting websites, or opening attachments in emails, you need to be careful to ensure that you don't open a can of worms after your click. Only visit websites that you know are secure and open email attachments from senders that you know are trustworthy. Make sure all the software and applications you use are from trusted companies and avoid running pirated software at all costs. You must also be careful before clicking the 'share' button, particularly on social media platforms. Check your settings to ensure that you're not sharing any information you didn't mean to, such as your date of birth, location, or photos that were not intended for the public domain. 

If you own a houseboat, you need to understand and remain vigilant about the security risks that come as a result of being connected to the internet. By following the simple but highly effective mitigation measures outlined above, you can reduce the attack surface of your houseboat network significantly and make it harder for malicious cyber actors to launch successful attacks. 

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