At work, the IT support team almost certainly helps you stay secure, but how easy is it to replicate these security practices at home? We’ve created a two-part blog series that covers some simple steps you can take to be more secure outside of work.
1. Keep Your Connection Secure
- Set complex passwords on your computer and your Wi-Fi service. Ensure that the connection uses WPA2, which is the best practice standard for encrypting traffic on Wi-Fi networks.
- Don’t forget that your mobile devices need to be protected also. Use a complex password or PIN to unlock your devices.
- Always change the password to your modem and Wi-Fi when you set it up the first time so that the default settings are not used.
- Don’t store a list of passwords in a text document on your computer, or on paper near your computer. See our blog post Secure Password Storage for information on how to store your passwords.
2. Safe Internet Usage in a Public Setting
- Public Wi-Fi should always be used with caution and the knowledge that someone may have access to what you are seeing and doing while on a publicly accessible network. Using a VPN service can help protect your internet traffic from prying eyes.
- Mobile devices can often be used to create their own Wi-Fi networks, also known as hotspotting. This is a safer alternative to using public Wi-Fi for connecting to the internet.
- When using a public computer, avoid visiting sites that require you to login or provide personal and/or sensitive information. Public computers could contain malicious software, such as a keylogger, that can capture what you type on a keyboard.
3. Practice Safe Browsing
- Use an ‘adblocker’ to block adverts from appearing while you’re browsing. A current trend is ‘malvertising’ where online advertising is being used to spread malware.
- Disable content which uses Java and Flash as these can also contain malware.
- Configure your privacy settings on your browser and social media sites to expose the least amount of private information as possible.
- Block pop-ups within browser windows. This is usually found within the settings. If popups appear on your screen, don’t click within the window to close it. Even if it has a button that says ‘No’ or ‘Close Ad’, click on the ‘X’ in the title bar, just as you would to close a computer program.
- If your browser asks you to save a password, don’t accept. Passwords can potentially get stored on cloud servers that are not secure, meaning that if these servers are compromised, an attacker may also gain access to these passwords.
- Using anti-virus software to scan your downloads before opening them add in an additional layer of security.
- Always check hyperlinks to make sure you’re not being redirected to an unsafe site. Fake sites often look very similar to legitimate sites.
- When making online payments, check that the website is secured (the URL will start with https rather than http) and only make online payments through secure payment methods.
The time you spend ingraining these security principles within your daily habits is well worth the effort. By practising these safe browsing habits, you can keep your data more secure. Hold tight for the next instalment of Building Better Security Habits at Home where we touch on other behavioural and system changes that can be made to help keep good security habits in focus day-to-day.