October 2016: Cyber Security at Home

There are many news stories about businesses being targeted by phishing emails and other cyber attacks. However, people outside the office are targeted just as often. Below are some of the steps you can take to make sure you stay protected at home as well.

Beware of ransomware

Ransomware is malware which restricts access to the infected computer system and demands a ransom paid in order for the restriction to be removed. In 2015, the average ransom to be paid was $679. Here are some tips to avoid ransomeware:

  • Think before you click - make sure everyone in your household is aware of the possibility of malware and doesn't open any emails or click on any links that seem suspicious or are from someone they don't recognize
  • Check your email settings - make sure your settings are set to not automatically download email content when previewing the email
  • Hover over links to view the URL - Be suspicious of shortened URLs and hover over links to see the true URL. 

Smart devices

With advancing technology, even thermostats and lights have become smart devices. They are great conveniences for everyday life, but also come with more security vulnerabilities that can put you at risk. Here are some best practices can help protect your home

  • Make sure all data that is stored or transmitted with your smart electronics is encrypted
  • Choose not to share your personal information with third parties
  • Only purchase smart devices from trusted vendors that continuously offer security updates
  • Keep the devices' software up to date
  • Change the username and password from the default one
  • Turn off any data collection not related to the devices' functionality

More information about ransomware and smart devices can be found on the Inspired eLearning website.