Life as we know it changed in March as South Africa went into lockdown for hospitals to prepare for Covid-19. In a matter of days, we saw businesses setting up their employees at home, and schools sending children home with lists of activities and reading material.
To date, businesses are still being run from home offices, children are still being home schooled, and households are still stocking cupboards from the comfort of our couches with a laptop.
However, working, living and schooling from home comes with its own set of challenges as cybercriminals are renowned opportunists, and malicious developers have been updating their toolkits in the hope of taking advantage of unsuspecting people.
ESET, leaders in Internet security, offer comprehensive protection for your daily online activities. The company’s solutions are trusted by over 110 million users worldwide to detect and neutralise all types of digital threats, including viruses, worms and spyware.
Looking at our new way of living, ESET offers simple tips to keep you safe.
Home office security tips
1. Check your home router’s settings and change the defaults
Working from home means all your Internet traffic passes through your home router. Cybercriminals can attempt to hack your router, intercept your Wi-Fi traffic and ultimately gain access to your network. So, if you haven’t reviewed the configuration options for your home router yet, now is the time. Also, look at creating strong and unique passwords. And use ESET Password Manager (part of an ESET Smart Security Premium subscription).
2. Scan your home network for unwanted devices
You can also use scanning tools to find unwanted devices on your home network. ESET Smart Security Premium, for example, comes with a Connected Home Monitor scanning tool that can find pesky neighbours who have perhaps been secretly using your Wi-Fi connection without you knowing. Change your password and kick unrecognised devices off your network.
3. Update your home router’s firmware – or stop using a legacy router
With ESET researchers having recently discovered the KrØØk vulnerability in billions of Wi-Fi chips used in routers, among other devices, it is paramount to ensure the firmware of your home router is updated to the latest version provided by the manufacturer.
If you end up shopping for a new router, look for options that can provide greater security for your home network. In fact, some routers, like those made by Gryphon, incorporate threat intelligence provided by ESET to detect and block malware, phishing sites and other threats at the network level for every router-connected device in your home.
1. Buy from well-known, reputable stores or sellers
Some scammers set up highly elaborate and genuine looking websites. Don’t be fooled and do your due diligence. Read the online views; ask around in forums; and if you’re buying high-priced items, check the seller’s credentials in their country of origin.
2. Use buyer or payment protection
No payment method is impervious to fraud. But some methods are safer than others. Credit cards are a good means of payment when shopping online because banks keep a close eye out for fraudulent activity and charges. Most banks have a zero-liability policy on their credit cards that protects cardholders against credit card-related theft and fraud.
3. Pay securely
Check to see the site is secured – look for Web addresses starting with “https”. This ensures your payment information being sent in the transaction is encrypted and can’t be intercepted and stolen. It’s also essential to have an one-time Pin set up to track and authorise any transactions on your credit card.
Tips for safe home schooling and how it will change
1. Safe video calls
Video calling platforms that are – or were initially – less secure will be sidelined in favour of those with end-to-end encryption to prevent unauthorised participants from joining calls. More thought will go into the communications teachers and students use on a daily or weekly basis to ensure that they are kept secure and private.
2. Storing personal data on online systems
With increasing amounts of personal data stored on online systems, multifactor authentication will move from an attractive optional extra to a non-negotiable requirement. When accounts are secured solely with a password, they are vulnerable to all manner of cybersecurity risks – and this is compounded in school settings. Schools often assign users standard default passwords, which users may forget to change, meaning that malicious actors could easily hack into their accounts.
3. Expanding the teaching of cybersecurity in schools
Perhaps the most important potential change to education because of the coronavirus restrictions is the teaching of cybersecurity in schools. As teachers and learners — and parents — alike will capitalise on technological resources, the essential steps to keeping these resources secure and those using them safe should become crucial components of curricula across the world. Everyone needs to understand the basics of cybersecurity and how to protect themselves and their data online – and the best way to do this is to teach learners at all levels about cybersecurity, and how to identify red flags.
When lockdowns are lifted and quarantines are over, the events of this year will not easily be forgotten, and neither should the difficulties of moving to remote working, living and learning. Online security is non-negotiable with ESET and the team is constantly investing in upgrading and developing new offerings to protect clients.
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