National Cybersecurity Month is here. While businesses and other organizations focus on cyber education for their employees, we need to talk more about how to stay safe at home.
Here are a few tips to help secure your home, your friends and your family.
- Silo your WiFi network: Your home network is only as secure as its most poorly protected device. Internet-connected TVs, light bulbs and children’s toys are increasingly the norm in U.S. households (the being average 22 such devices according to a 2022 survey), which increases a household’s attackable surface. Create separate networks in your house with less-secure or non-essential devices (e.g. your child’s tablet or your smart TV) on one, and devices with your more sensitive data on the other. This sounds complicated, but it’s not. Many home networking products make this simple to do through an app.
- Change the default password on your router: WiFi encryption has improved over the years, but your home network is still only as secure as the password to access it. If you are currently using a factory default password (or if a password isn’t set at all) it’s time to start using a long and unguessable password.
- Choose a theme for your device names: If you see Bob’s iMac on a list with John, Paul, and Ringo, and your name isn’t Bob and you don’t have an iMac, it may mean someone nearby is sneaking onto your WiFi.
- Talk with friends and family: Social engineering may not be standard dinner table conversation, but it should be. Play the social engineering game: Trying to trick each other. Convincing victims to provide sensitive information or access to accounts should be easy to spot, and playing a game that engenders a healthy distrust of unsolicited emails, text messages and random interactions on social media is a good thing.
- Perform regular security check-ups: Check accounts for irregular activity and conduct regular internet searches of your name and the names of your family members to see what information is out there.
- Apply patches and updates: Apps and hardware are updated all the time, and it’s always important. Make sure everything is up to date..
Set aside a dedicated time periodically to do all of the above (and update your passwords while you’re at it).