Your Devices Are A Target For Online Prowlers. At Your Peril Do Not Ignore!

Home Office Security

Be Aware of Your Surroundings – Takes On a Whole New Meaning

When you were a child, your mom or dad reminded you, be aware of your surroundings. They wanted you to avoid getting hurt by a stranger. This sound advice also rings true when using your company’s computer, tablet or cell phone devices at any public Wi-Fi hotspot. Anytime you log onto a non-encrypted hotspot, you increase your device’s vulnerability to data hacking. Also, if you chose not to log on through a work-based VPN connection, you invite easy access to your company’s device. If you travel for business, you practice keeping your devices safe, especially in airports and train stations. But if you can avoid doing sensitive work at public hotspots, you’ve reduced your vulnerability and increased your awareness of your online surroundings.

 Company Security Policies Are For Your Protection

Let’s say you work from home. Or maybe you travel and work remotely. Once you leave the company’s secure environment, your vulnerability increases. The organization is entrusting; you won’t expose them to unwanted malware and a hostile environment they have no control over. It’s for this reason; your company institutes a mandatory security policy. The terms of the policy state when any staff member, works away from the office, they must use the company’s devices. Should your device be compromised, your IT Security department can contain the risk immediately. But using a non-issued device, a friend or spouse has, you’ve exposed your company to a possible cyber-attack. You’ve also left the IT Security team to pick up the pieces which could have prevented. No need to stick your neck out. Follow your company’s security policies and reduce your risk and exposure.

Not Some, But All Systems and Applications Must Stay Up To Date

We know. You hate being reminded. Security managers are updated zealots. But their sage advice is the simplest and easiest step a home office user has at their disposal. When running your updates, remember you are updating your operating system, all applications, and Microsoft Office. The updates are not just for the latest versions. Updates are for your stronger security-related measures. When your computer reminds you to update your system, take those extra minutes and update. Finally, don’t forget your once a week security scans and your once-a-month full system scan. You might be surprised what your system digs up.

You Can Trust Me – I Am Your Network, or Are You?

Let’s say a security application, you’ve never seen, pops-up and prompts you to do a security scan, would you click it on? We hope you’d say no and here’s why. Some applications appear harmless and legitimate, almost friendly and helpful. But underneath they are programmed for sinister activity and why you must stay vigilant and know in advance if an unfamiliar network should be trusted. Granted you will be suspicious of public Wi-Fi hotspots, but at home, that same caution must continue. Downloading an app, your IT Support hasn’t cleared, puts you at great risk. If you’re not sure you logged into the correct network, stop and contact your IT Security Support department right away.

Remove The Cache Sludge From Your Computer

Have you noticed lately, your computer or browser are taking just a little longer to boot-up or respond these days? With virus updates, software patches, surfing the web, emailing, and working from your home computer, you will build up digital muck. For starters, your cache is your catch-all. It doesn’t matter what it is; something is going to drain down into your cache. And it keeps a record of it. So, if you want smooth sailing internet browsing and peak performance, clean out your cache. Why horde piles of digital yuck, for months, in your cache, where malware has been known to hide out? Once you clean out your cache and reload your browser, it rewards you with the updated version of the website you’re visiting. Also, if the site owners keep their security up-to-date, your visit is secure.

These Cookies Are Not Your Friends Nor Are They Tasty

According to Webopedia, “a cookie will contain a string of text that contains information about your browser. To work a cookie does not need to know where you are from; it only needs to remember your browser.” Some Websites use cookies to store more personal information, about you, and you may not know it. You must find out who has data about you. With bad press surrounding social media sites, it’s becoming more important to check your browser for cookies and delete them selectively or delete them entirely.

Still Using Passwords – Multi-Factor Authentication Gives You New Security Powers

In the early years, you were trained how to use passwords to protect your sensitive material. Something easy to remember. But with progress came security breaches. Easy passwords were out. Next password level was using numbers and symbols in the place of vowels in your password. Now passwords are out, and passphrases are in. Here’s how it works. No confusing password with symbols or numbers to remember. What you create is a phrase you will easily picture in your mind, like the address at your best friend’s house. Instead of a password like this: #152@Bobs, you create a passphrase like this: AddressAtBobsPlace. Now you have an easier way to remember and beefed-up security powers to protect your sensitive information.

Will Your Router Pass A Security Examination?

Finally, are you still using the original router password that came in the box? Does anyone else have access to that password? In some home offices, passwords get shared with family and close friends. If you do not remember the last time you changed the router’s password, or who has access to it, the time to replace the password is now. But if that same router has reached 24 months, ask your provider to swap it out and get a new dual-band router. With newer routers come five enhancements. They are faster to respond, data transmission is reliable, the latest security firmware is updated, comes with a warranty, and you receive a new password.

For more Intruder Hating Home Office Security Tips gives Network Essentials a call at (518) 459-6712 or email us to speak to one of our Home Office Security Specialists