Securing Devices at Home and Work - NCSAM 2020 Week 2

Posted by Michael Krutikov
October 13, 2020

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Welcome to the second week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020! 

Each week we will be highlighting one of the four themes for this year's NCSAM! 

Securing devices at home and work

The mass shift to work from home started at the very beginning of the pandemic and is going to be the new normal for the foreseeable future. We’ve blurred the lines between work and home and the same applies to our laptops and computers.

So what’s the problem?

For one, our work systems usually have a much greater level of security software and procedure applied to them. How many of us use a VPN for our work systems, but not for our home systems? How many of us have enterprise-level security on our Wi-Fi networks? This opens up endless possibilities for cybercriminals, keen to compromise the safety of our data. It’s now more crucial than ever to know how to separate work and private devices and how to keep them secure. And this is exactly what the second week of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is all about.

BOGO for the bad guys

Cybercriminals are more active than ever before, as this new world order presents a great opportunity to get past a lower security bar for a home system then bounce over to a work network. Now that they’re in the work network, they have access to thousands of additional individuals.

Why? Because if a breach happens in your work network, and you’ve been using your work laptop to check your personal email or to access your bank account, now cybercriminals have access to your private information. What if your private smartphone is compromised? If you’ve been using it for work-related activities, now criminals can get to the same corporate info you have access to. It’s a feast for them and a danger to you and your employer!

But my work system is secure, right?

Another common and false sense of security is that devices provided by employers are totally secure. No one would try to break into a laptop from your IT department, right? Wrong, almost any system can be breached, it’s a matter of how much time and effort they want to put into it. While your work devices are almost always going to be more secure than your personal ones, they aren’t invulnerable. Cybercriminals just have to try harder to compromise corporate accounts, but the rewards are worth it.

7 Tips on how to secure your devices at home and work

To help you improve the security of your devices at home and work, we prepared a checklist of things you should remember:

  1. Do your best to separate your work devices from your private ones. This simply means having two different computers, or at least two login accounts set up on one computer.
  2. Never use unsecured public Wi-Fi when connecting your home or work devices to the Internet. It’s also best practice not to use any public Wi-Fi unless you use a VPN.
  3. Always use your work-supplied VPN, even when at home, and especially when using public Wi-Fi.
  4. Set up strong, unique and long passwords for all devices you use and never share them with anyone. Keep them private and use a Password Manager to secure them.
  5. Keep all your devices updated to the latest version available and run security scans on a regular basis.
  6. If using a USB or an external hard drive, make sure to scan your devices for viruses and malware. And never, ever use a USB if you are not sure where it came from.
  7. Never leave your unlocked devices unattended. When you finish working, always log out and place your work laptop in a secure place.

This NCSAM, do your part and #becybersmart and secure your devices at home and work. Check out our week one NCSAM blog If You Connect It, Protect It.

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