CyberCat is your guide through the world of cybersecurity. She knows it can be intimidating out there, so that's why it's her mission to educate you about using technology responsibly. She'll bring you semi-regular information so you can be proactive about protecting yourself.
A lot of you are working from home right now, but your home office probably lacks the security of your work office. Whether you're "working" or just watching cat videos, it is important to have a cybersecure home. Here are some simple, effective steps you can take to stay safe regardless of what you're doing on that computer.
Your WiFi access point is what controls your wireless network. It most likely came with a default administrator username and password. The link to the admin console is probably on a label on the access point or wireless router. Visit the site from your favorite browser -- trust me, this will be fun!
Change the administrator password and, if possible, the username. This helps ensure that only you can make changes to its configuration (even if you never do). Also, make sure that the name of your network, the SSID, is not associated with your address or family name.
Use the strongest encryption available. Older, weaker forms of encryption, such as WEP are not secure and shouldn't be used. You want WPA2. If you don't see WPA2 as an option and your access point is old, call your Internet Service Provider. Even though you can't expect them to contact you to tell you that you have outdated hardware, they'll usually replace it for free.
Not sure how to do these steps?
Contact your Internet Service Provider, check their website, refer to your wireless access point's documentation, or look up the model on the vendor's website.
Secure everything connected to it
Now let's look at all those devices. You know, your laptop, smart TV, security system, thermostat, scale, lights, etc. Only connect smart devices you need to your network and keep track of them. Make sure they all use a strong, unique password. We'll take about those more in the next issue.
Ensure all your devices' operating systems, browsers and apps are kept updated. Enable automatic updating whenever possible. This is where so many of you just want to curl up and nap, but it is one of the simplest things to stay secure. It is a necessary task, like watering the plants or cleaning out the litter box, so just do it!
It's important to keep your work and personal lives separate, that goes for your computer as well. Don't save personal files on your work computer, and vice versa.
Lastly, make sure your family knows that your work devices are off limits, you don't want them accidentally erasing, modifying or infecting your device.