Knowing the basics goes a long way, especially when protecting your home network. Basic computer security is a practice of good cyber hygiene that addresses vulnerabilities where experienced cybercriminals continuously prey. Cybercriminals are relentless in their pursuit of accessing networks, systems and personal credentials. It’s been widely reported that the number of cyber-attacks in the public and private sectors have been on the rise for some time, reaching newer heights in 2021.
The Federal Trade Commission and Center for Internet Security recommend the following for basic computer security practices at home:
- Update Software: Outdated software is an easy target for criminals to exploit. Updating your operating system, web browser, and application software helps protect against the latest threats.
- Protect Passwords:
- Ideally, passwords should be 12 characters or more
- Be unpredictable, don’t use names, dates or common words. Mix numbers, symbols, and capital letters mixed throughout the password, not just at the beginning or end.
- Use unique password for each account. This protects hackers from accessing multiple accounts if using the same passwords credentials across different platforms.
- Use Two-Factor Authentication: For supported accounts, use two factor authentication, which requires both your password credentials and an additional code sent to your phone number or email address. This protects your accounts in the event of password compromise.
- Unsecured Wifi: Ensure your Wifi connection is secured to mitigate the risk of leaked data, and prevent cybercriminals from accessing sensitive emails, passwords, and messages.
- Invest in Antivirus Software: Working from home, your employer may provide recommended software for a company-issued device, but when using your personal laptop for work, your system should be protected with antivirus software.
For additional basic computer security tips to protect your home environment, please visit cisecurity.org and ftc.gov.