Home Security

Cybersecurity At Home – It Needs Your Attention

The latest ransomware attacks have garnered well-deserved attention in the corporate world. We’re happy (and proud!) to say that not one of the thousands of business users that Certus Technologies supports has suffered a ransomware attack, and this is due, in no small part, to the multi-layered approach to cybersecurity that I spoke about in recent newsletters.

This has me thinking about all of the computers that our users have at home, and the fact that home networks are, for the most part, severely exposed. Take a look at this video from Good Morning America to see just how easily your home network can be hacked:

Most of our home networks consist of two devices:

A cable modem provided by a cable company (like Comcast or Optimum).  This device essentially connects your home to the Internet and provides little (really, no) security.  And even worse, many cable providers use the same default user name and passwords for everyone, a big concern.

A wireless router (like this old Netgear device to the right) takes the Internet signal from the modem and “routes” it to devices in your home, including computers, tablets, smart phones and, for that matter, household devices.

The problem is that, while routers can also provide some degree of cybersecurity, most are not configured by the homeowner to do this. And the results can be disastrous, especially with the growing number of household devices connected to the Internet (even coffee makers!).

So, what’s a non-technical homeowner to do?

You have lots of choices, but here are a few recommendations:

  1. Change your cable modem passwords! Comcast and Optimum are famous for issuing the same default passwords for everyone.
  2. Make sure that your router, if it is a separate device (from the modem), has its control panel access protected with a strong password.
  3. Make sure that your home wireless network is properly secured, and that might include setting up a “guest” wireless network, segregating your guests from being able to easily access the devices on your home network. We recommend using WPA2 security, with a strong password required to gain access.  If your router is older and only supports WEP or WPA, you should consider replacing it.
  4. Consider creating and using an Open DNS account, which is free for home use, and which helps protect you from accessing known infected (malicious) websites.
  5. Finally, make sure you are running strong anti-virus and malware software on each device. Consider downloading and installing Sophos Home, which is free business-grade security for your home PCs and Macs.  Sophos Home will protect every Mac and PC in your home from malware, viruses, ransomware, and inappropriate websites.  Best of all, you can manage security settings for the whole family.

Need help?  Want to talk more about cybersecurity?  Call me at 973-944-5000, x1002, or e-mail me at EBerk@CertusTechnologies.com.

About The Author

Evan BerkEvan Berk is Managing Partner at Certus Technologies, an IT Managed and Cloud Services firm that specializes in helping clients dramatically improve their business productivity.

Evan is passionate about simplifying and demystifying complex Information Technology systems and believes that the best IT systems should make our lives easier and more productive, both in the workplace and at home. He can be contacted at EBerk@CertusTechnologies.com or at 973-944-5000.

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