The COVID-19 lockdown forced us to stay safe at home and turn to the Internet to keep connected to the outside world and ensure business continuity. However, even before the pandemic, many of us engaged regularly in online activities at home, whether it’s streaming TV shows, ordering dinner, or using personal Wi-Fi to send a work email. What we may not realise is that every single home device – including security equipment, entertainment systems and even appliances – are now connected to the Internet. The risk is even greater for those of us who continue to work remotely.
“As we increasingly use our personal devices to go online and share information, we’re becoming more of a target for cybercriminals. At Vodacom Business, we want to keep people connected and protected while they live and work in a digital world. As the remote workforce becomes more of a hybrid model, many people will still be working from home and need to take precautions to secure their personal network’ says Kabelo Makwane, Managing Executive for Cloud, Hosting & Security at Vodacom Business.
Here are some simple tips to help you connect with confidence and protect your digital life at home:
Take extra precautions
Your home’s wireless router is the primary entrance for cybercriminals to access all of your connected devices. Secure your Wi-Fi network and your digital devices by changing the factory-set default password and username.
Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. MFA increases your account security by requiring multiple forms of verification to prove your identity when signing into an application. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in.
According to a Mimecast global report, there was a 30% increase of cyberattacks through email between January and April 2020. If you’re working from home, ensure there is a content filtering system on your email service, like that of Vodacom Email Security, which blocks unwanted content and prevents a breach of security.
If you connect, you must protect
Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defence is to install security software. Norton Security offers protection for smartphones, as well as packages for multiple devices and parental control.
If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on. And, if you’re putting something into your device, such as a USB for an external hard drive, make sure your device’s security software scans for viruses and malware.
Always upgrade your software, web browser, and operating systems to the latest version, and periodically back up any data that cannot be recreated such as photos or personal documents.
Keep tabs on your apps
Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realised you approve – gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and only download apps from trusted vendors and sources. To decrease risks from apps, Lookout analyses apps for possible threats and offers protection for mobile devices.
Never click and tell
Limit what information you post on social media, from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realise is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings – online and in the real world.
Keep ID numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even holiday plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are (and where you aren’t) at any given time.
Never underestimate the value of your personal information for cybercriminals. Fortunately, all it takes is some simple steps along with Vodacom’s security solutions to protect your home network and digital assets from being compromised.