Humans are resilient. It’s in our DNA. Times of disruption, such as now, call for us to be more resilient than normal – putting our business continuity plans into action. But it’s not just business continuity processes we are activating, it is life continuity. As more organizations send employees to work from home, so too is the educational sector. Many newly remote workers are finding themselves not only equipping and securing their home environment for work, but for the whole family. Children home from school for an extended period will spend more time on connected devices doing distance learning, social media, and being entertained. In the best of times it’s important to make your children cyber aware and to secure their devices. In times like these it is critical.
Over the past week there have been stories of cyber attacks, just as there always are, because a world health crisis does not stop cybercriminals – it simply gives them additional vectors of attack. It is unlikely your home network has the same robust security in place as your employer or educational institution making you the IT and cybersecurity specialist on top of everything else. RSA is here to help with best practices to ensure you’re cyber secure.
Begin with a quick audit of your home environment for vulnerabilities. There are continual disclosures regarding vulnerable Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Take the time to change all default passwords and secure them with strong passwords after updating their firmware/software to the latest versions. Consider using a connected home monitoring app to highlight devices with known vulnerabilities, outdated software or firmware, and passwords that need changing. You could also make identifying devices a fun family project by holding a scavenger hunt!
Now that you have a list of updates and password changes needed, go ahead and apply them. These include running updates for the latest security patches on your operating systems and browsers. Make sure home network equipment, such as routers, have updated passwords and are not using factory defaults.
Enlist Cybersecurity Tools
Now that your equipment is updated, take time to install or update anti-malware software. There are many options and if you aren’t sure which one, you might check with your cable provider as they often offer such protection for free for a year.
You may also set up parental controls and lock down your Wi-Fi to keep everyone safe while on the Internet. Remember to be a good digital citizen.
Educate your kids that…
- The internet is a public place just like a playground or mall
- People aren’t always who they say they are online
- They can always ask for help if they feel uncomfortable
Empower your family by…
- Signing a family cyber pledge
- Jointly agreeing on appropriate controls
- Letting your kids teach you about their world
Equip yourselves by...
- Protecting your home’s internet access
- Protecting your devices from compromise
- Protecting your data from thieves and predators
Remember, Cybercriminals are using this time to social engineer you and your family. As more people engage on social media and download new apps take these additional steps.
- Really read privacy and security settings when subscribing to a new service.
- Look at the permissions the new mobile app asks for. Is it reasonable? Does it need all those permissions?
- Lock down your login. Take advantage of the many simple, modern authentication methods that are secure and easy to use.
- Be aware that phishing attempts leading to ransomware increase during times of disruption
- Remember this crisis will pass but online is forever. Be careful of what you share as anything you post online is forever accessible – even if you delete it. This includes all social media posts, discussions on gaming consoles, texts, emails, etc.
You’ll also want to educate the whole family on crisis-related attack attempts. To better understand what to look for check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website on known scams and what they are doing. The National Cybersecurity Alliance also provides valuable tools, tips and best practices on their website.
Whether you are working from home, or overseeing your family’s home network, stay safe…online or off.