Securing Your Work from Home (WFH) Wireless Network

work-from-home cybersecurity

Due to the current pandemic situation (COVID-19), most organizations have asked employees to start work from home (WFH), wherever possible.

When you are working from home, you are dealing with various kind of critical and non-critical information. Security and privacy of this information are the key things which you need to pay attention to. Some risks are:

  • Using insecure Wi-Fi networks
  • Using personal devices that may be poorly protected
  • Scams and malicious emails targeting remote workers
  • Lack of training or understanding of best practices when it comes to information security

Organization’s Responsibility

To deal with these threats and security risks at an organisation level, the following steps can be followed

  • Create a security policy specifically designed for remote workers
  • Enable and ensure the business continuity and data security controls
  • Training the workforce about the different policies and how to work securely
  • Increase monitoring for data leakage

 

Employee’s Responsibility

As an employee, we need to be more vigilant about their home environment to make the home network as secure as possible.

The WiFi Router can be vulnerable to various security issues like:

  • Out of date firmware
  • Default or misconfigured settings
  • Weak password

There are numerous ways to secure your wireless network and the WiFi router by modifying its configuration.

  • Routers come with default login credentials like admin/admin or admin/password.  This administrator password should be unique and a strong one. Change your default password as soon as possible.
  • Every wireless router broadcast it’s network name by default. This name is called SSID (service set identifier). The SSID is how other wireless devices see your network and can attempt to connect to your network
  • Unique and unidentifiable SSIDs are recommended, which would make it difficult to identify your home network, your identity as well as your location.
  • To improve the security of your network it is recommended to use the Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protocol

  • WPS allows a wireless device to connect to a network using a PIN or a push-button type authentication. However, the PIN-based authentication can be cracked by using a trial and error method called as brute-forcing.
  • If the router has a WPS button, turn off the WPS Router Pin in the settings

  • UPnP is a service that allows the forwarding of traffic from the public port to devices on the LAN. Vulnerable LAN devices that use UPnP can be exploited to access the devices on the private network and even turn them into botnets for malware and Denial-of-Service (DOS) attacks. Disable UPnP on your Wireless router
  • Router manufacturers release firmware updates that update and patch the router OS for any security vulnerabilities. The router should always be updated to the current firmware release
  • You can check for unknown devices that have connected to your network using the routers management page.
  • MAC address is a unique address assigned to the wireless card in your network devices. To prevent unknown devices from joining your network you can allow MAC addresses of only known devices to connect to your wireless network.

    Other security measures

    While this short article addresses the risks from an insecure wireless network, we also recommend you take a look at the following aspects:

  • Ensure your laptop and mobile devices are fully updated in terms of operating system patches
  • If you have a Windows 10 laptop, then Windows Defender is fine as a malware-protection mechanism. Otherwise, you may want to install a licensed anti-virus on your laptops.
  • Take a regular backup of your data onto a protected USB device or using a cloud-based service. This will help you recover faster in case you get hit by a ransomware.
  • Ensure all your email accounts are protected by 2FA (two-factor authentication)
  • Educate yourselves and your family members about attacks like ransomware, business email compromise and other phishing attacks.

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