National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Top tips for securing home and work devices

October may bring to mind thoughts of ghosts and ghouls, but it’s also a time to consider the real-life implications of some potentially dangerous situations. After all, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCAM).

Sponsored by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), NCAM is an opportunity to take stock every fall and promote cybersecurity awareness for families, businesses and other organizations.

The event is broken down into weekly focus areas, and we thought we’d shed some light on a topic that we think is particularly important: securing devices at home and work.

Keep in mind this theme for NCAM 2020: “If you connect it, protect it.” All internet-connected devices require concerted efforts to ensure that they’re secure.

Cybersecurity awareness: Protecting home devices

While we’re focusing on both home and work devices, we’ll turn our attention to household technology first. This year, many Americans have been forced to work from home for at least part of the year, making home cybersecurity particularly important for both personal and professional security. An NCAM tip sheet outlines several priorities for protecting your digital home, some of which we’ll highlight here.

Start with your wireless network

Securing your home wireless network can help deter criminals and limit their ability to intercept data or compromise your connected devices. Take the time to verify that you’ve changed your wireless network service set identifier (SSID) and password from the default settings. Use a unique password, and be sure not to give away any personal information through your SSID. If you work from home, this will help protect personal devices and your workplace data.

Use multifactor authentication wherever possible

Passwords can be exposed in data breaches. In addition to using unique passwords for all of your accounts, multifactor authentication (MFA) can help protect different profiles, like banking, email and social media. This process requires you to verify for your identity through additional steps beyond just entering your password, especially when you log in from a new device. Some programs enable MFA by default, while others require you to select the option. Check your  settings to better protect important accounts.

Cybersecurity awareness: Protecting work devices

Whether you’re working from home or commuting to the office, protecting your work devices is an important element of cybersecurity awareness. The NCAM tip sheet on being cyber secure at work includes useful guidelines for helping you safeguard your employer against potential threats. We’ve also included some additional advice below.

Secure your wireless devices, like printers

A recent initiative from CyberNews highlighted widespread security vulnerabilities among wirelessly connected printers. The organization hijacked nearly 28,000 printers, forcing them to print out a PDF about how to secure the device. The instructions encouraged compromised users to update their firmware, change default passwords and more.

Prioritize privacy, for yourself and for your employer

Bad actors can use publicly available information to help them crack passwords, launch targeted spear-phishing attacks and more. Make sure that you don’t overshare on social media, and be aware of people posing as vendors, subcontractors or other parties that may seek payment from your organization. This is especially important for government agencies and other groups forced to disclose details related to public projects.

Visit Total Defense today for more help with securing your personal devices and work-from-home equipment.