October has been designated as national Cyber Security Awareness Month — a time for professionals and home users alike to brush up on their cyber security awareness skills. Cyber security has become critical to every household and small business, but there are still some basic misunderstandings that some may have regarding privacy. In particular, the FBI has released some specific safety tips.
Always Protect Your WiFi Networks
Roaming devices can jump on your WiFi network if it isn’t appropriately secured. Today, most individuals and businesses use smartphones, tablets, and other devices — and these can be used for nefarious purposes with an open connection. Make sure your WiFi network has a complicated password.
Update Your Devices Regularly
There are many devices throughout your home or business that can be connected to the Internet. Smart televisions, video game consoles, routers, and more all have accessibility and can be utilized by a criminal. Make sure your devices are setup so that they automatically update — this will close off any newly discovered exploits. If your devices ask you specifically to update them, you should always complete the update before proceeding.
Protect Your “IoT” Devices
The “Internet of Things” now encompasses everything from learning thermostats to LED light bulbs. Anything that can connect to the Internet can potentially be utilized by a cyber criminal to transmit and receive data. Make sure that password protection is enabled on all WiFi-ready devices and purchase them from reputable vendors who have security in mind. If your IoT devices are able to be connected to through the web, then they may represent an even more significant vulnerability. Turning off this feature and instead accessing devices solely through a local network is almost always preferable.
Create Multiple Home Networks
Most modern routers allow you to create multiple home/unique networks that you can use to segregate your equipment. Consider placing your computers and laptops on networks separate from your Internet of Things devices — and putting any devices that you use for business purposes on yet another network. For businesses, creating multiple networks is even more advantageous: you can even separate everything by department. If a cyber criminal gets into one network, they at least won’t be able to access them all.
Cyber security awareness is designed to ensure that individuals and businesses understand how critical cyber security actually is. Simply thinking about cyber security regularly can have a profound effect on whether an individual or business engages in risky behavior.