60 Second Cyber – 1 minute Read – WFH Pt2 – Device Security Basics

April 2, 2020

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This is where Tony Barnes Managing Partner at Cyber Partners provides simple, practical cyber safety tips in just in sixty seconds.

In part two of our safe cyber working from home series we do a deeper dive into the essential things to do to protect yourself and your technology when working from home.  Ready? Let’s go….

  1. Secure your home office

Physical security shouldn’t go out the window when you’re working from home. Just as you lock the up the office when you leave for the day, do the same when working from home.

  1. Encrypt your devices

Encryption plays an important part in reducing the security risk of lost or stolen devices, as it prevents strangers (and family!) from accessing the contents of your device without the password, PIN, or biometrics. Turn on encryption like this:

  • Windows: Turn on BitLocker.
  • macOS: Turn on FileVault.
  • Android: Enabled by default since Android 6.
  • iOS: Enabled by default since iOS 8.
  1. Use supported operating systems

New vulnerabilities and exploits are discovered daily and they can impact old versions of operating systems that are no longer supported. Here’s how to check if your operating system is still supported:

  • Windows: Check the Windows lifecycle fact sheet
  • macOS: Apple consistently supports the last three versions of macOS. So \ each release of macOS should be supported for roughly three years.
  • Android: Security updates target the current and last two major versions.
  • iOS: Security updates generally target the most recent major version and the three prior.
  1. Keep your operating system up-to-date

To minimise this risk, ensure all devices apply security patches as soon as possible, ideally via automatic updates. Most modern devices will automatically apply updates by default, but you generally need to allow your computer to restart to complete the patching process.

5. Keep your software up-to-date

Operating systems aren’t the only thing that can be exploited. Any software can and web browsers are a common target. For the same reasons outlined above, it’s important to keep any installed applications up-to-date.

  1. Enable automatic locking

If you walk away from your device at your home office, you should lock it. Make sure to configure an amount of time that while convenient is not unreasonably long, such as 30 seconds for mobile devices and five minutes for laptops.

  1. Use a strong PIN/password on your device

All of the above doesn’t matter if you don’t use a strong password. Make sure to avoid anything that’s easy to try, such as repeating numbers (e.g. 0000), sequences (e.g. 123456), or common passwords (like Password1 or Admin123). And don’t use anything that is related to you, such as your date of birth, license plate, or kids names.  A good pin/password should look random to anyone that’s not you.

  1. Use antivirus

Antivirus software can help protect your computer from viruses, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, trojans, and other types of malware. Antivirus software not only eliminates a virus but also prevents any potential virus from infecting your computer in the future.

  1. Enable find my device and remote wipe

Being able to find and ideally remote your device is a crucial part of ensuring information security when a device is lost or stolen. Securely wiping a device makes it much harder to access your data, no matter how much time or determination an attacker has.  Here’s how to enable find my device:

  • Windows: Enable in Settings > Update & Security & Find my device.
  • macOS: Setup iCloud on your device by going to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Find My Mac.
  • Android: Set up a Google account on the device and it will be enabled by default.
  • iOS: Setup iCloud on your device by going to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Find My iPhone/iPad.
  1. Use a virtual private network (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, enabling you to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if you are directly connected to the private network. They do this by establishing a secure and encrypted connection to the network over the internet and routing your traffic through that.

VPNs can reduce the risk of certain cyber attacks as they make it difficult to snoop on your traffic and intercept what you are doing. They can also prevent websites from knowing your real location, or your internet provider from monitoring your activity.

Thanks for joining Cyber Partners for 60 Second Cyber Safety. It’s a hyperconnected world – so go safe!







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