by Leo Cronin, Cincinnati Bell Chief Security Officer
Note: links in this article have been verified to be secure
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many private and public organizations to implement work-from-home or hybrid working models that continue today. With organizations and employees still working from home, 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. Moreover, Cincinnati Bell offers products and services that provide additional layers of protection to your work from home environment (see below).
- 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
It is expected that many employees will work in a hybrid model into the foreseeable future. By now, we have all gotten used to managing company business out of our homes. Now it is important that we get used to managing the security of company equipment and other resources that we have in our homes. You can do this by keeping physical equipment and any confidential material in a secure part of your work from home location. Keeping sensitive, hard copies of data in a locked drawer or cabinet is also a good practice. You shoud also 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.
Get two layers of protection with Premier
Cincinnati Bell’s Premier internet bundle includes two layers of enhanced online security protections one at the network level to help prevent you from navigating to malicious websites, and another at the device level should your device come in contact with a malware or a virus. Upgrade to Premier today to take advantage of these security features as well as:
- Family Rules to manage your children's online activity
- Secure financial transactions when banking or shopping online
- Browsing protection that automatically blocks known malicious IP addresses
- Password manager to safely store all your usernames and passwords
Cybersecurity should be a priority to everyone, especially those who work from home and find themselves on the internet for majority of the day. For more information on how to stay safe on the internet, visit our security site at the button below.