Cybersecurity Awareness Month Newsletter

Cybersecurity In The Home: 3 Steps Households Can Take

Cyber security is everyone's job. Including yours

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of Americans to embrace working from their own home – a concept most had limited or no experience with at the time. And while many employees have returned to the office, a recent University of Chicago study found that 72% of those surveyed would like to continue working from home for at least 2 days a week, and 32% said they would like to work from home permanently. In this new reality, having your household safe and secure from cyber threats is as important as a safe and secure office.

Most homes now run a network of devices linked to the internet including computers, gaming systems, TVs, tablets, and smartphones. Having the right tools in place will instill confidence that your family members can use the internet safely and securely for personal and work-related endeavors.

Below are 3 steps households can take to better protect themselves against cyber-attacks:

Secure Your Wireless Router

Using a wireless router is an increasingly convenient way to allow multiple devices to connect to the internet from different areas of your home. However, unless your router is secure, you risk the possibility of individuals accessing information on your computer and using your network to commit cybercrimes. All wireless devices using this router are vulnerable if your router is not protected.

One simple way to secure this piece of hardware include changing the name of your router. The default ID is typically assigned by the manufacturer, so changing your router to a unique name that won’t be easily guessed is a simple way to keep your router protected. Another important step is changing the default password on your router. Leaving the default password in place makes it significantly easier for hackers to access your network. Embracing unique and strong passwords is a worthwhile step to securing your home from all types of cyber threats.

Install Firewalls and Security Software On Every Device

Firewalls are essential because they watch for attempts to access your system while blocking communications from sources you don’t permit. Windows has a built-in software firewall on every computer. In order to benefit from its protection, make sure it is enabled. Furthermore, ensure that all devices connected to your wireless network have security software systems installed and updated. Many of these gadgets have automatic update features, so households should make sure they are on for all available technology. Up to date security software, web browsers, and operating systems are a crucial defense against viruses and malware.

Back Up All Household Data

Users can protect their valuable work, photos, and other digital information by making electronic copies of important files and safely storing them. Backups can be taken automatically using cloud software, like OneDrive, and manually by backing up data on devices like USBs. Regardless, backing up data provides another layer of protection.
Taking these steps to keep you, your family, and your friends safe from cyber threats goes a long way to improve your security posture. The more of these steps you follow, the better your security. Regularly reading security advice is an even better way to keep your data protected.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Test Your Knowledge Competition

We invite you to show us what you know by entering our Test Your Knowledge: Cybersecurity Awareness Month edition.

Complete this activity to test what you know and receive an entry for a Bear Bucks award.

  • Grand Prize: $1,000 BearBucks credit
  • First Runner Up: $500 BearBucks credit
  • Second Runner Up: $300 BearBucks credit
  • Third Runner Up: $200 BearBucks credit

Head over to our competition page for more instructions about getting entered to win.