Securely Working from Home

Just as the university is a target, so too are you at home. Your personal information, accounts, emails, and even your systems at home are valuable to cyber-attackers. Not only can remote workers have their own privacy put at risk, working from home could result in breaching university information as well. This is why it is essential that when working from home, you follow the university’s information security guidelines. Read on for some additional steps you can take to create a more cyber-secure home environment.

Plan Ahead for Remote Work

Be ready for Two-Step Verification: Microsoft’s Authenticator App is the method to use for two- step verification.  If you don’t have this app you can add it here.  Add link to setup Authenticator App here.

Identify the computer you will use remotely: When working remotely plan to use your work laptop or contact the IS Helpdesk to obtain a loaner laptop.

Secure Your Home Network

Use the following steps to secure your home network: 

  • Configure the network settings:Older Wi-Fi settings use weak forms of encryption, such as WEP. Instead, be sure you are using WPA2, which uses advanced encryption to protect your network activity.
  • Change the default settings: Changing your home router’s default administrator password and wireless SSID can discourage a would be attacker. Choose a name that cannot be tied back to your address or your family name.

Not sure how to do these steps? Ask your Internet Service Provider, check their website, or check the documentation that came with your wireless access point, or refer to the vendor’s website.

Use Strong Passwords

When a site asks you to create a password, create a strong password or passphrase, the more characters it has, the stronger it is. It is important that all of your Internet connected devices have a strong account password.

  • Use a passphrase: One of the simplest ways to ensure that you have a strong password is to use a passphrase. A passphrase is nothing more than a password made up of multiple words, such as “junkyard bees sounds inviting ” You can add numbers and symbols throughout to make it more secure.
  • Make it unique: Using a unique passphrase means using a different one for each account. This way, if one passphrase is compromised, all of your other accounts and devices are still safe.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for each account: Two-factor authentication uses your password and adds a second step, such as a code sent to your smartphone or an app that generates a one-time code.

Update Your Software

Make sure each of your computers, mobile devices, programs, and apps are running the latest version of its software. Cyber attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in the software your devices use in order to hack into the devices and steal personal information. By ensuring your computers and mobile devices install updates promptly, you make it harder for the devices to become compromised.

  • Enable automatic updates: To stay current, simply enable automatic updates whenever possible. This rule applies to almost any technology connected to a network, including not only your work devices but Internet-connected smart devices such as TV’s, baby monitors, security cameras, home routers, gaming consoles, and your car.

Backup Data

Data can be lost in a number of ways, including human error or a cyberattack. Ransomware and other types of malware can wipe entire systems. Be sure you have a backup of your information and are using appropriate storage options for university data.

Mobile Device Security

Mobile devices, including Smart Phones, are portable computers that should be secured the same as any computing device. Adhere to these practices:

  • Lock your phone with a PIN or password.
  • Avoid storing sensitive data on your phone.
  • Use caution when connecting to public wireless networks.
  • Update your mobile device apps frequently.
  • Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use.

 

Last reviewed 1/16/2024