Working from Home - The New Normal
With the current state of this pandemic more and more people are having to work remotely. Your kids are doing online learning, our lives as we know it have changed and we are trying to figure out our new normal.
With working remotely and distance learning being at the forefront of our at home life now, I wanted to cover a few things that you can do to make sure you are being secure with your home network.
Put a Firewall in Place
One of the first things you can do is consider putting a firewall in place (this is a piece of hardware that can be put into your home network). A firewall is designed to keep unwanted visitors out of your network and It helps to keep your traffic secure inside your home, ( you can also use it to block certain websites that you might not want your kids on) You can pick up a firewall for around $100.00 dollars. If you need help getting a firewall setup you can contact a local IT company to come in and help you get it setup, if you are tech savvy you should be able to get one setup fairly quickly.
Keep Your Virus Scan Up to Date
Keeping your virus scan up to date is more important than ever, I would also recommend running a malware scan at least once a month (I personally really like malware bytes).
Change Your Wireless Router Password
I would also recommend changing your wireless router login password. I am always surprised at how many people leave this as the default password. I understand that you do not want to forget what it is, but it is easy enough to factory reset a wireless router if you cannot remember the admin password. It would not take someone long to be able to hack into your wireless router and be on your network and make changes to things with out you realizing what happened. It is also important to do firmware updates to your wireless routers. These firmware updates that the companies release update security vulnerabilities, if you need help with this or just do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, reach out to a local company to come in and help you.
Encrypt Your Hard Drive
I also think it is a good idea to encrypt your hard drive on your computer. Windows 10 has a built-in feature called bit locker and it makes it very easy to encrypt the drive, Mac’s are also easy to encrypt. This gives you an added layer of security when booting up as it requires a pin or passcode before you even get to the Welcome to Windows login screen.
Have Separate Login Accounts
Have separate login accounts if you are not the only one who uses the computer. If you have a younger child using the computer, I recommend removing the admin rights so that they are not just installing unwanted / malicious software onto the computer.
Create A Guest Network
Create a guest network so that when people come over (your family, friends, kids’ friends) and they want to be online they are not on your internal network. This protects you in case they have malware or a virus unknowingly on their machines, you do not risk the chance of your internal network being infected. It also makes it easier to change the password, you do not have to worry about re connecting each device you have. You could also go a setup further and setup a separate network for things like you Alexa’s, googles, smart TV’s and security cameras, this way if the need arises for your to change your internal Wi-Fi network you don’t have to worry about getting those pesky devices to reconnect. If you don’t know how to do this a local IT company would be able to get you setup.
Check all Devices
Check your TV’s, gaming consoles, wireless printers for updates and firmware updates, I know it’s a hassle, but it is worth making sure you are keeping all of your devices protected.
Make sure your computer has the latest updates for all software. This should include things such as windows updates, firmware updates from your computer manufacturer, java updates, pdf reader updates, MS office updates. See our blog post on keeping your computer safe with the lates updates.
Have a Secure Cloud Backup
Have a secure cloud backup of your files, as well as a local backup of your files. I know this may sound like over kill, but you will be happy you did if something happens. One drive allows for easy backup of files and has a vault that you can enable which protects against things such as crypto lock virus.
Be Mindful of Phishing Scams
Finally, be mindful of email phishing scams. The scams provide links that have embedded malicious code in them to attack your computers and steal your information. See our blog post on phishing scams.
Call a Professional
If you feel like your computer hasn’t been performing like it used to call a local IT company to come and have a look and ask them to make sure your network is secure and up to date while they are at your house. You will be happy that you did.