by Leo Cronin, Cincinnati Bell Chief Security Officer
Note: links in this article have been verified to be secure
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the largest virtual workforce the world has ever seen, with many private and public organizations instituting mandatory work from home (WFH) programs. With this new way of working, we need to be extra cautious of security threats to our home network and devices. The following are some tips to help you securely work from home.
Check the security of your home network and devices
Ensure that all of your home network connected devices (smartphones, tablets, computers, game consoles, smart TVs, and Internet of Things) are behind password protected gateways with network address translation (NAT) and firewall protection enabled. NAT hides your devices so people cannot see them on the Internet and firewalls limit network traffic and intrusions. Hackers can find machines directly connected to the Internet within just one minute.
- If you are a Cincinnati Bell customer, all configurations are set up securely by default.
- If you are unsure about the security of your configuration, check your service provider's website for details.
- If you are using your own wireless device/router, ensure your passwords are at least 8 characters in length and made up of a mix of alphanumeric, numeric and special characters.
- Always change the non-unique default passwords that are set by the manufacturer on any home network or device.
Ensure home network connected devices are updated per vendor recommendations.
- Most devices will notify you when updates are available or will automatically update in the background. Those that don't, usually have a way to check and apply necessary updates (e.g. Smart TVs).
- Before you put an IoT (Internet of Things) device on your network, make sure the vendor has an update capability and that it can be configured securely. IoT devices are often in the crosshairs of hackers, so this is important.
Handle with care
Employees were forced to bring important resources home with them once the pandemic hit. Protect any confidential resources from the office with a locked drawer or in a secure part of your house.
- Treat your work computer like your briefcase- limit who can use it at home and never tinker with the security configurations on your company-issued laptop or computer. When not in use, lock or turn it off.
Cybersecurity should be a priority to everyone, especially those who work from home and find themselves on the Internet for majority of the day.