Bolstered by the pandemic, the home has become a mini-enterprise. The number of smart homes in Europe and North America is predicted to reach 179 million in 20241 and today the number of connected devices in an average U.S. household is 25.2 Start counting your laptops, smart TVs and appliances, smart phones, gaming consoles, voice assistants, and smart watches, and this number looks on target.
And this is just the home. The workplace adds another layer of complexity, and the home and workplace are now deeply connected.
We’ve seen very sophisticated companies on the path to cyber resilience fall prey to an attack, even those that have invested heavily in the latest security tools and defensive systems. Why? Because cyber criminals prey on the weakest link – you, the human element.
The reality is that, for the average technology user, cyber security is not a priority. The priority is to pay the bills, get the report out, host the video conference, ensure the school fee is paid, or get a high score in the video game. We exchange money, share files, form virtual networks, and more – sometimes without thinking “Is this action secure?” We pass security off to the technology vendors. Perhaps some individuals download extra virus protection, but even this is not enough.
All it takes is one small crack, and the phishing email comes through. Then just one click and network access is gained. In the average breach, the attacker is in the network for two months or more before being detected. That’s a long time to cause a lot of damage.
In this article we emphasize the role of personal responsibility in cyber security. While online security might not be your number one priority, it needs to be number one dash A. Irrespective of role, and whether you like it or not, you should be and may be considered the first line of defense in cyber security.
Segment your home network.
Organizations segment networks and set-up access privileges, yet we rarely do this in the home. Place your Internet of Things (IoT) devices on a separate network. If a device is breached, this will protect your work laptop, for example. Additionally, create a guest network for those coming into your home whether family, friends, or the babysitter, to reduce vulnerability.
Regularly update software.
Do not ignore smart phone and laptop software updates. These are critical and usually include the latest security protections. Just like managing smoke detector batteries, set calendar reminders to scan for critical software fixes.
Log-in and on smartly.
Activate multifactor authentication (MFA) on any account you wouldn’t want to share with a threat actor – think banking and healthcare. Manage your log-in credentials. Consider 12+ character pass phrases, use a password manager, and don’t share your log-in credentials with others.
Technology interconnects our world. Let’s work to make smart decisions when it comes to cyber security.
1 The Number of Smart Homes in Europe and North America | IoT Business News