Secure Your Devices at Work and at Home

Secure Your Devices at Work and at Home

This week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is focused on securing the devices you use for work and at home. 2020 has shifted most of our home, school and business lives online. Whether you are working, doing schoolwork or relaxing at home, you should secure the devices you use that connect to the internet. Your connected devices increase convenience and productivity, but they also can collect tons of personal data and could potentially be a threat to your online security if not secured. It is important to protect not only your data, but the data of others that you may handle in your job duties!

Your data/information is valuable - Protect it!

Information including your home address, email address, phone number, personal ID numbers and date of birth (DoB) is like gold to a cybercriminal. It is important to secure the devices and apps that you actively use, as well as those that run in the background.

Internet of things (IoT)

These devices can be ordinary things that have the ability to connect to the internet. Some examples of these could be your home thermostat, smart refrigerator, smart watch, baby monitor or a smart TV. IoT devices may be connected to the internet constantly, without needing to be interacted with. In order to protect your data, protect the IoT, which in a constantly connected home, should be protected by a secured network!

Securing your network

Most home wireless networks (Wi-Fi) are controlled by your internet router or a separate dedicated wireless access point that broadcasts wireless signals. This means that securing your wireless network is a key part of protecting your home and everyone and everything in it. Wi-Fi can extend way beyond the walls of your  house or apartment. If you share your Wi-Fi password with friends, guests, etc... that means they can connect anytime they pass by. Before long, a lot of people know your Wi-Fi password and connect to your router, and then have access to your home network.

Whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet or any other internet-connected device, the tips and resources below will help protect your technology and secure your personal/work data.

How-tos and resources:

  • Own your online presence/footprint - Every time you sign up for a new account, download a new app or get a new device, IMMEDIATELY configure the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. REGULARLY check these settings at the minimum once a year, to make sure they are still configured properly.

  • Cybersecurity basics - Keep your software up to date! Use passwords on all your devices and apps. Make the passwords at least 12 characters long, using numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters. Make the passwords unique to only that device or app. Never share your passwords or store them physically (such as on a sticky-note or in a notebook).

    Meet Laura, Sid and Dave (watch the video below) as they engage in good - and not-so-good password security practices.


    The key points addressed above and in this video can drastically reduce the risk of your accounts being compromised.

  • Secure your accounts - Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) on any account that allows it, and never disable it.

  • Secure your home network - Make sure that you have changed your router login’s default username and password, as they are easily found online. Always keep WPA2 enabled to ensure the best security for the devices on your network. Use a strong wi-fi sign-in password. Keep your router’s firmware up-to-date on a regular basis. This will ensure that you have the latest security updates.

  • If you lend, give, sell or throw out an old device, make sure to return it to factory settings. This will prevent your data from being accessed after you no longer have control over your device. But before you do that, remember to back up or transfer any important information on the device.

  • Treat your work data/information as personal information. University data includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts and so much more. DO NOT share PII with any unknown parties or over unsecured networks.

  • Social media is part of the cybercriminals toolset. By searching Google and scanning your organization’s social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about you, your friends,family,vendors, as well as human resources and financial departments. You should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange payment, or share PII on social media platforms.

  • Be careful with what information you share online or on social media. By openly sharing things like pet names, schools you attended, links to family members, and your birthday, you can give a scammer all the information they need to guess your password or answer your security questions.

  • Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email or text message asking you to update or verify account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own (don’t use the one a potential scammer is providing), and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.providing), and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate

  • Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.