The substantial increase in home offices has blurred the boundaries between work and private life for many employees. If companies do not use virtual desktop technology that separates the employees’ homes from the work environment, data can be at risk. At some companies, the employees’ home networks are equipped with levels of security such as industrial next-generation firewalls, two-factor authenticated WLAN hotspots, and other security solutions. However, employees only use their private rental router in some cases, including the supplied standard settings. However, this creates security risks for business data traffic.
The following recommendations show how employees can make their home network environment more secure and practice cyber distancing with appropriate behavior to maintain a digital distance between home and work:
Optimizations For The Home Network
Some home network recommendations sound complicated, but they are easy to implement. All users have to do is access the home page of their router. Usually, this information is located on the router itself and the default password. When users enter this information in the navigation bar of their web browser, they are prompted for a username and password. You can then modify the default settings.
- WiFi network SSID not broadcast: If the SSID or network name is broadcast, it means that anyone in the vicinity can pick up the signal and try to access the network.
- Change default passwords: It is recommended to change the administrative password on the router. Sometimes the device already comes with a complex password, but it is even better if only the user knows the password.
- Secure password for WLAN access with WPA2 encryption: A secure password is usually more than 20 characters long and consists of numbers, letters, and symbols.
- Make sure remote access is disabled: This setting allows remote control of the network but also opens a backdoor for hackers. Users should therefore ensure that this setting is deactivated in the configurations. To do this, you can search for the keyword »Remote Access. «
- Updating the Router’s Firmware: Routers generally do not have an automatic update facility, but the firmware must be up-to-date and free of bugs and vulnerabilities. This should be checked approximately every six months.
- IoT devices: IoT devices can cause massive security gaps in the network, especially since many devices are equipped with weak standard credentials and user-defined ports that can inform attackers of their existence. Users should therefore update the password and modify the standard ports. This requires what is known as port forwarding on the router to a new harbor that the user assigns.
Basic Recommendations For Working From Home
- Don’t click on email links and attachments: Email’s primary attack vector for COVID-19 phishing attacks. There has been a massive increase in campaigns that use the pandemic to their advantage.
- Validate links: Users can first move the mouse pointer over links to see which web address they lead to. If you want to check the specified website, it is advisable to enter the web address into the browser instead of calling it up directly from an email.
- Validate email sender: When users receive an email, they should check the full sender address and not just rely on the displayed name.
- VPN: If possible, users should stay connected to their work environment via a VPN. Most organizations already have a VPN for remote work connections, but adding an extra layer of security to your network is also a good idea. Cyber distancing the device and ensuring that all data between the work and home network is sent over an encrypted channel can protect data and company resources.
- Antivirus solution and patches: If employees use their private laptop in the home office for work, it is essential to ensure that it is always up to date and that updates and patches are regularly updated. The installation of an antivirus solution provides additional protection.
With the above essential tips, employees can make their home office much more secure to protect themselves from attacks by cybercriminals.