As our work environments change, many employees now work from home as well as going into an office. It is important to understand the cybersecurity risk when working from home. There are many things that we can do to strengthen our home cybersecurity.
One of the first things we do at night before we go to bed is to lock our doors. Having poor cybersecurity practices at home is like leaving all the doors and windows wide open! Our physical safety and cybersecurity safety are now interconnected.
It’s important to recognize that working from home is not always as secure as working in an office setting. We must implement strong security at home to reduce our personal and work risk.
Here are some important cybersecurity tips for employees working from home. In this article we will cover both Wi-Fi router security and other home cybersecurity measures:
Wi-Fi Router Security:
- Change Default Passwords: You must make certain that the default login credentials are changed for your Wi-Fi router. Use a strong, unique password that contains a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Router management passwords should be at least 14 characters long with an upper-case letter, number and special characters included.
- Enable WPA3/WPA2 Encryption: Make certain your Wi-Fi network uses the latest encryption protocol, such as WPA3 or WPA2. This provides greater security for your wireless connection.
- Update Router Firmware: Regularly check for firmware updates for your router and apply them when available. These updates often include important security patches.
- Rename Your Network: Avoid using basic names like “Home Network” or “Linksys.” Rename your network to something unique and non-descriptive to make it harder for attackers to identify your router.
- Use Strong Network Passwords: Set a strong, unique password for your Wi-Fi network. Avoid using easily guessable passwords, such as common phrases, names, or dictionary words.
General Home Cybersecurity Tips:
- Use Strong, Unique Passwords: For all your online accounts and devices, use long, unique passwords. Passwords should be at least ten characters in length and the longer the better. Consider using a password manager to keep track of them.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Whenever possible, enable 2FA for all of your online accounts. This is especially important for all your financial accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a secondary verification method such as a text number sent to your phone or an application with changing number that are entered on the website.
- Regularly Update Software: Keep your operating system, applications, and antivirus software up to date. Many updates include vital security updates.
- Secure Your Home Office: If possible, dedicate a specific area in your home for work. Ensure its physically secure and lock it when you’re not working to prevent unauthorized access. Make sure you lock up sensitive documents when you leave.
- Always Beware of Phishing: Be cautious of all unsolicited emails, especially those asking for sensitive information or containing suspicious links or attachments you were not expecting. Verify the sender’s identity independently before clicking on anything.
- Secure Video Conferencing: Use strong passwords for video conferencing platforms and enable waiting rooms and password protection to prevent unauthorized access to your virtual meetings.
- Secure Physical Documents: If you print sensitive documents at home, secure them in a locked cabinet or drawer when not in use.
- Use a VPN: Ask if your employer provides a Virtual Private Network (VPN), use it to encrypt your internet connection and protect sensitive data. If not it is important to use VPN applications especially when connecting to free Wi-Fi networks.
- Regular Backups: Back up your important work files regularly to an external hard drive or cloud storage. This can protect your data in case of a cyber incident like ransomware.
- Childproof Devices: If you have children at home, ensure your work devices are not easily accessible to them. Implement parental controls and passwords if necessary. Your children and family should not be allowed to use your work devices.
- Secure Personal Devices: If you’re using personal devices for work, make sure they have updated security software and follow the same cybersecurity practices as you would with work devices. Verify with your organization that use of personal devices for work are authorized.
- Educate Yourself: Stay informed about cybersecurity threats and best practices. Your knowledge is your best defense against cyberattacks. Create a sense of community and share new risks you hear about with your family and co-workers.
- Report Security Incidents: If you suspect a security breach or incident, immediately report it to your IT department or supervisor. Quick action can mitigate the damage.
By following these important cybersecurity tips, remote employees can help safeguard their work environments and protect sensitive information from cyber threats. Remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and staying vigilant is essential to maintaining a secure remote work setup. Ongoing cybersecurity training will help to remind all employees to remain vigilant.
Do you need help with security awareness training for your employees?
CFISA’s Security Awareness Training courses are designed to educate employees on proper cyber and data security behavior to best protect your organization from a catastrophic data breach.