SECURING YOUR HOME NETWORK DURING PANDEMIC

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Criminals are using this pandemic as an opportunity to gain financially. As seen in the recent weeks that there has been an increase in online fraud, cyber bullying and harassment costing almost two million pounds in the United Kingdom. The pandemic came unexpectedly where businesses and schools had to close. All of us are using the home network for working or schooling.


It has been reported that zoom was hacked and up to 500,000 contacts were shared on the dark web. Moreover, home networking using social media, playing online games and online banking may expose us for security risks unless appropriate measures are implemented.

The steps for implying security measures for home network are:

  • Considering what needs to be protected and knowing what data you have.

  • You must consolidate your old data and ensure that all your external storage data are backed up.

  • Backing up you data regularly.

  • Have an updated anti-virus software.

  • You must ensure that the anti-virus software is regularly updated.

  • For all your important information encrypt data for security.

PASSWORD SECURITY

  • Usually we tend to use the same password for login on various online accounts and it can only take a minute for the criminals to guess the password. For example, your surname and date of birth it is common password used.

  • Most often you will use the same password for online banking and online shopping such as Amazon. This will give access to criminals to hack into your account and take money from you. When was the last time you changed your passwords?

  • It is recommended that you do not use your name or age or date of birth as a password and when you set up a password that it does not resemble for all your accounts.

  • There is a password generator online such as the last pass which you can create a password for you.

  • Longer passwords make stronger passwords. Do keep your password and there are apps which you can put secure all your passwords in one place such as dashlane.

  • Protect your mobile phone by having a fingerprint login and passcode in case of unauthorized access.

  • Most of the online banking now offers two authentication process and approval for any transactions.

  • Social media and email accounts Gmail and outlook offers a two-way authentication which you can apply.

PHISHING EMAIL

Cyber criminals always look at ways and means to exploit people and one of the methods of operandi used in the past is to trick people. You need to know how not to accept such tricks through security awareness and training. Recently, there was an email circulating about warning people who have been in contact with someone who has been in contact with a COVID19 infected person and that they at risk themselves getting the disease. The email had the attachments which asking the user to download and it has a malware which could have affected the user computer or steal personal details.

Below are recommendations:

  • Always look at the authenticity of the email and any messages that receive from your mobile phones.

  • You must not click attached documents or links to any emails sent unless you know the person sending the email.

  • Most of the anti virus software scan for any phishing emails and alert you.

  • Do not give any personal details from any unknown attachments.

  • Any suspicious emails and messages report to Action Fraud and the police.

  • Criminals have been using social media such as Facebook , SMS and WhatsApp to trick their victims and steal personal information. Always check the authenticity of messages.

VIDEO CONFERENCING

Working or studying from home at this moment meaning utilizing video conferencing. Depending on your business or school recommendations on the software to use but some known softwares are Skype and Zoom. Below are measures to implement:

  • You must ensure that you follow the policies and guidelines given by your employee or school.

  • Download the latest software update. There has been cases recently a teacher was conducting teaching online when an unknown person dialled in and started yelling and later shouting the teacher address.

  • Do not share the meeting publicly on social media and keep it private.

  • Ensure that you manage screen sharing to host only and you can set a password to the participants to join the meeting.

  • If you experience any suspicious activities, immediately report it to your organisation, the software company and the police.

  • Do not open any link or attachment sent to you from unknown person.

ONLINE GAMING

During this pandemic, socialising with friends and family has been limited like before and everyone is turning to online gaming and the social media. However, one must wonder the consequences for not following appropriate measures to safeguard yours’ and children well being. It has already been reported that cyberbullying against the Asian community has already increased since the start of the virus.

With a 70% increase of cyberbullying in the past month, it is paramount that parents must monitor their children safety and wellbeing at home when playing online gaming.It has been reported by the National Crime Agency that there around 300,000 people in the UK pose a risk of committing physical or online abuse. About two years ago 24 men were arrested by the police in America attempting to lure children from the online gaming namely Fortnite. Below are measures to take:

  • Children are exposed to unrestricted materials online and exposed to risks unless monitored and access restrictions are implemented online.

  • Children can speak to strangers online when playing the games hence exposing them to greater risks. It was established that last year around 400,000 teens in the UK where lured into online gambling through video games.

  • Most of the games now can be downloaded online if registered with the parent bank card and this can create a loophole for criminal activities online or misuse of the card.

  • Amazon and supermarkets’ sale vouchers for PS4 and Xbox which can be purchased and redeemed online which is the safest and secure way.

  • Parents must ensure that children are playing games according to their age. It has been found that violent games increased the risk of violent behaviour.

  • NSPCC has guidelines for children safety for playing games and if your child suffers abuse or bullying, you must immediately report it to the police.

CONCLUSION

Conclusively, safety is the main paradigm for our happiness and as we are struggling to cope with this pandemic and risks associated with it. We must ensure that we do not expose ourselves to other risks and take precautionary measures for our online activities. It is our responsibility to keep our family safe and secure. Security awareness and training is a key to keeping ourselves safe and secure.

We must not ignore the anxiety and depression during this period and the safe well being of our and family mental health is very important. It is important to keep ourselves aware of the online safety and keep engaging or carrying out our normal business safely online. One must not forget that there is support available and sufficient resources to educate yourself with the online safety.












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