Working from home - Cyber Security considerations
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought challenges on many different types to us all with the threat to human life being the greatest challemge of all.
We have all needed to react to Government advice and now, where possible, we are working from home. Other than the many issues that working at home can bring especially when familiy are also being told to stay at home, the issue of cyber security may be low down on everyone's priorities but sadly the threats are increasing rapidly rather than decreasing.
There are some simple steps that will help to keep working at home secure and reliable. In order to check your systems, it is worth taking a few moments to understand what your home system consists of, and to consider actions worth taking: -
- Boundary - the term used to describe the divide between your systems and the Internet. The device that controls the flow of data between the household system and the Internet will generally be the router supplied by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). The router should have a built-in firewall which limits what the outside world can see of the household systems. The router will often be providing a WiFi service to the household.
1) The router should update automatically and this can be checked by accessing the browser based dashboard.
2) Check the admin password is not a default password (more likely if the router is a couple of years old) and change the password to at least 10 characters using upper, lowercase and numbers (and symbols if possible).
3) Check the WiFi password is also long and complicated. The SSID setting refers to the name of the WiFi and this should not make it obvious that it is serving your house. Limit the access to the WiFi to household members if possible and use a Guest account for guests if available.
- Connected devices
So many devices, beyond just computers and laptops, are now capable of being connected to the Internet and to WiFi and these can give rise to security weaknesses, particularly those connect to external services such as CCTV and door cameras.
1) Make a list of connected devices (this can be drawn from the router) and check that the devices have updated firmware and do not have any known security issues using Google search.
- Work based device
It is important to make sure that the device you are using for your work is secure. This may be a home based device or a company issued desktop or laptop. There may be more issues with a home based device especially if others in the household have access to it and the actions to safeguard work data will be different between personal use and shared devices.
1) Create a separate user account on a shared device with as ecure password and revoke administrative rights from accounts where possible to prevent any potential deletion to work data.
2) Use Cloud hosted services to access and save data if a work based environment is not available.
3) Use a VPN service to access data or systems held on work servers whether office or Cloud based.
4) Use a private VPN service, such as NordVPN, PrivateVPN and others, to access the Internet and other Cloud services
5) Ensure screen savers are correctly configured to lock the device should it be left unattended for any reason.
- Anti-virus software
It is vital that all computer devices within the household have up to date AV software which is configured to update automatically and to scan websites for malware infected sites and downloads.
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