By Nevin Markwart
With more of us working from home than ever before, cybercrime has skyrocketed. The FBI found that cyberattacks have increased 400% during the pandemic, with up to 4,000 incidents per day. We’re now using our own personal computers, wi-fi, routers, and networks to conduct business, and each of these can be key entry points for hackers if not properly secure.
Fortunately, you can play a proactive role in protecting your sensitive business information and helping your company fight cybercrime. Below are ten security measures that you can implement immediately for your computer, network, wi-fi, and router.
Tips to Protect Your Computer
Make sure you have antivirus software enabled if your computer came with it installed. If your computer does not have antivirus software, we’d recommend installing it right away to protect your devices from virus, malware, and adware. Examples of strong antivirus programs include McAfee, Bitdefender, Norton, and Kaspersky.
Encrypt your Hard Drive
Ensure you have hard drive encrypted: on a Mac, that means having your FileVault enabled, and on a PC, it would be Bitlocker. This means that if your computer is stolen, all of the data on your computer is encrypted (or scrambled) and unusable to someone else.
Email and Phishing
Be careful of phishing emails and spam. Phishing emails attempt to solicit and effectively steal your passwords to common accounts, such as online banking or your email account. If an email is asking you for your password to something, it’s probably not a legitimate source.
If anyone is asking you for your banking information or private confidential information over an email, it’s probably best to think twice. And finally, you should always check who the actual sender is.
Use two-factor authentication (sometimes called multi-factor authentication) when you can. This means that you use a secondary pin to log in using SMS or an authenticator app. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to try and access your accounts.
Zoom and Video Conferencing
If you’re the administrator, ensure that you are using the waiting room to admit people or have a passcode for the session. This is mandatory now on Zoom.
If you’re a participant, ensure you’re aware of your camera and microphone being on at all times. Do not do anything on a Zoom call that you wouldn’t do at a boardroom table.
Tips to Protect Your Network / Wi-Fi / Router
First, you should ensure you have a very strong wi-fi password. You’d be surprised how many networks have a basic password or none at all. You should also ensure that you change the password on your router, which most people forget to do.
Get a Good Router
You should use routers with built-in protections such as security audits (i.e. how healthy or safe your network is). They often have additional features for filtering malicious websites and even blocking infected devices from accessing the network. They’re also generally good at providing firmware updates, which are updates to the software on your device to patch newly found vulnerabilities.
Most internet modems that are also wi-fi routers usually have firewalls enabled by default, which is great, but they don’t always have the additional protections that other wi-fi routers can offer.
Ensure you’re using the WPA2 with AES encryption on your wi-fi network.
Set Up a Guest Network
It is also recommended to have a guest network to allow friends or others to use the network while in your home so that you’re not exposing your internal network and computers (blocked intranet).
Use a Password Keeper
We recommend using a password keeper like LastPass or 1Password to store passwords. These password keepers also help you create secure, randomly generated passwords instead of your dog’s name with your birth year.
Nevin Markwart is the Chief Information Security Officer at FutureVault, an industry leader in enterprise digital vault solutions that securely store, organize, and share important documents.