Thought Leadership

Home User Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity for home

  1. Never use the same password for more than one thing! Get a password manager application to keep up with your passwords. Use a sentence for your passwords.
    1. Lastpass.com and Bitwarden are free for home users. 
    2. Also, make sure your passwords are not found on https://haveibeenpwned.com/.
    3. Passwords should not be a word or form of a word. Use short sentences with punctuation if you allowed. The longer the better. Example: Pigs can’t fly? Example of a bad password: Gr34t (it is short and uses common letter/number substitution)
  2. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) anywhere and everywhere it is available. This is a must for Amazon.com, PayPal, Facebook, etc
    1. If you are not sure how to set it up, search for help online.
  3. Use PatchMyPC to update applications on your machine. PatchMyPC is free for home users and has a schedule option to run automatically in the background, and patches over 300 commonly used applications.
    1. https://patchmypc.com/home-updater
  4. Make sure your local firewall is turned on/enabled for your Windows/OSX/Linux machines.
  5. Make sure you have an antivirus product installed. Windows 10 comes with a suite of protections which is a very good product. To view settings click the start button and type Virus & Threat protection
  6. Change your DNS settings to use OpenDNS servers. If you have a DHCP server on your network (usually your router), change the DNS servers it hands out to the OpenDNS servers, or if you cannot modify those, change the settings on each device. The OpenDNS servers are 208.67. 222.222 and 208.67. 220.220. More info can be found at https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security/
  7. Set a monthly reminder to check for updates on all network devices like TVs, tablets, phones, cameras, doorbells, smart light bulbs, etc. Anything that has a network or wifi connection should be checked periodically.
  8. Stop using out-of-date operating systems. Your windows PC’s should currently be Windows 8.1, or Windows 10. Anything else is no longer secure and easily hackable. With Windows 10, click the start button and type winver. Check if your Windows 10 is at least version 20H1 or later (version 21H1 is the latest as of June 2021). If you are not up to date, you need to visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and update! This is VERY important as the older versions of Windows 10 are no longer receiving security updates.
  9. Make sure your Windows is set to install updates automatically. Click the start button, type updates, and look for ‘Windows Update Settings’. You can also manually check for updates also.
  10. Stop using out-of-date hardware that no longer receives updates. This includes cell phones. Most cell phones receive updates for 3 years. Many phones people have today are no longer receiving updates/patches leaving them vulnerable.
  11. Become aware of phishing tactics, and be vigilant about handling email. Also, realize that email is not secure because security was not a concern when it was designed. Email can be intercepted and read by others unless specific secure communications are set up. The best advice? If it is not from someone you know, just delete it! Even if it appears to be from a trusted source (for example Amazon), always hover over the link, OR go to the vendor site manually and NOT use the link.
  12. Scan anything/everything you download with www.virustotal.com
  13. Uninstall apps no longer used. This includes your phone, tablets, and your home PC.
  14. If possible, use a non-admin account for your normal use, with a separate account for when you need admin authority. By default, the user that is created for Windows 10 is a local admin on the machine.
  15. And I saved the hardest for last: Check your children’s devices, talk to them, know what apps they use, and who they talk to online. Teach them about security and the dangers of installing the latest app, or clicking those terms of use/agreements without knowing what they say. They often do not want mom or dad invading their privacy, but do not think about the strangers who are doing that through the device and gathering information on them.
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