March 2022

· 5 min read

10 Tips on Cybersecurity: How to Protect Your Information

Working at home can be a risky business. Don’t get hacked. Our cybersecurity experts offer 10 tips on how to protect your information.
A woman working on a laptop with headphones - Tips to Protect Your Home Network from Cyberattacks | NSF

Over the last two years, many of our homes have become hybrid offices — and if you’re like me, you may be paying a bit more attention to the buzz around cybersecurity. You may be asking questions like, “Is my home network too small for a cyberattack?” “Is my computer secure?” “What can I do not to get hacked?”

I spoke to NSF’s technology gurus and checked the latest recommendations from the experts for advice on how to improve the security of our home networks. It turns out most attacks are not personal and can happen on any type of network — big or small. Indeed, any network that connects to the internet is vulnerable and susceptible to outside threats.

Experts from NSF and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offer 10 simple but effective ways you can significantly reduce the risk of an attack on your home network:

  1. 1

    Connect the Dots

    Routers, computers, smartphones and even Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitors and front doorbells — any connected devices — are part of your home security network and have the potential to be hacked.

  2. 2

    Stay Updated

    It’s important to update your software regularly. Besides adding new features and functionality, updates include critical security fixes for recently discovered threats. Most operating systems will automatically check for the latest updates.

  3. 3

    Declutter

    Disable any unneeded services and software to lessen your risk of attack. Sometimes when you buy a computer, vendors will preinstall trial software and applications you may never use. CISA recommends that you research and remove any software or services that aren’t being utilized regularly.

  4. 4

    Change It Up

    It’s always good to change any default login passwords and usernames. Most computers come with these administrator passwords to simplify setup, but they’re not secure, and they may be easily findable on the internet or may even be physically labeled on the device itself.

  5. 5

    Pick Passwords Wisely

    It’s not a good idea to use your dog’s name for your password (too obvious), and don’t use the same password for multiple email accounts.

  6. 6

    Be Vigilant Against Viruses

    Run up-to-date antivirus software. A reputable antivirus software application is an important protective measure against known malicious threats.

  7. 7

    Get Fired Up

    Install a network firewall and firewalls on network devices. Most wireless routers come with a configurable, built-in network firewall.

  8. 8

    Watch Your Back(up)

    Regularly back up your data.

  9. 9

    Avoid Phishy Business

    Be careful of chain emails. They’re a target for cybercriminals who dig into conversations, then embed malicious links or attachments. Don’t click on links that look suspicious.

  10. 10

    Follow the Rules

    Pay attention and follow your organization’s hybrid-working security procedures.

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Sources:

www.dhs.gov/topics/cybersecurity

www.cisa.gov/tips/st15-002