Cyber Security: Tips to Stay Safe

Straight from an Expert: Mark Lanterman, Chief Technology Officer of Computer Forensic Services

More time working from home means greater susceptibility to cybercriminals’ tricks and schemes, schemes which often involve offering free or too-cheap-to-be-true pirated movies, television and sports.

Now that we’re working from home more, we routinely offer cybercriminals a brand-new target and it’s a target that is not as hardened as many corporate targets with the cutting-edge firewall and anti-virus protection many of us take for granted at our workplaces.

Working from home, we’re often relaxed, we’re in our element, we’re in our safety zone. And cybercriminals are aware of that and they’re willing and able to take advantage of that new-found weakness in our armor.

What you need to remember is ‘hackers need our help’ and the way they get our help is by tricking us into clicking or opening files or links. Much of this purportedly “free” content contains malware. It contains backdoors that allow cybercriminals into your computers and into our lives.

If something seems out of the ordinary, it’s because it is. Think before you click. Nothing is free and the price you pay is your security and perhaps your safety.

Tips to Take to Make Your Home Network More Secure

From smartphones and other mobile devices to laptops, gaming consoles, and smart TVs, cybercriminals are finding more and more points of vulnerability to target your home network security. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to make your connected devices more secure. Here are some tips that can improve your home security and keep your personal data and other sensitive information safe.

Follow Workplace Cyber Security Guidelines

While it may be true that you’re working from home, your company probably still has some cyber security guidelines in place. By following these, you’ll cut down on weaknesses and access points that criminals could exploit. Not sure about your company’s guidelines? Reach out and ask.

Secure your Wi-Fi Network

A secure home Wi-Fi network and Wi-Fi router are foundational to staying safe from cyber threats at home. To make the network more secure:

  • Change the default password on your router to something unique and difficult to guess, ideally with symbols, numbers, and letters.
  • Name your wireless network something that isn’t at all associated with you personally, your company, or your address.
  • Enable network encryption, e.g. WPA2, WPA3, AES, TKIP
  • Stay up to date with security updates.
  • If you must work at a coffee shop or other public space with shared, public Wi-Fi, use a VPN.

Improve All Passwords

It isn’t just your wireless router that needs a unique password, all your connected devices (including smart home devices) that grant internet access need impossible-to-guess passwords. Because password guessing tools exist that can run thousands of passwords in a short amount of time, a long (at least 10 characters), randomly generated password that includes letters, numbers, and symbols will keep your home network safer from cyberattacks.

Educate Yourself — and Your Household — About Phishing

Phishing is the fraudulent and nefarious practice of sending emails, text messages, social media messages, and voice messages to trick the recipient into clicking on a dangerous link or divulging sensitive personal or company information. Knowing how to spot potential phishing scams and messages is key to staying safe, as phishers can infect your devices with ransomware or engage in identity theft without your even knowing. To gain more information about how to spot and protect yourself against phishing, read more in our What Is Phishing guide.

Use Two-Factor Authentication or an Authenticator App

Adding two-factor authentication or an authenticator app to your cybersecurity arsenal is a good idea because it basically requires that whomever is trying to access your devices, operating system, or email offer further proof beyond a password that you’re really you. While it can seem like a pain to have this additional hurdle to accessing your information and devices, this extra security feature can go a long way in giving you better protection as criminals and hackers become increasingly sophisticated and bold.
Staying safe at home, whether for work or play, has gotten more complicated for anyone with internet service. Follow these tips, and stay vigilant, and you and your household can avoid the harm of a cyber security breach.

Interested in learning more tips about staying safe online? Check out Online Piracy 101 now.

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