Every year, October marks national Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This vital initiative, which is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, is intended to engage, educate and raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, as well as encourage all consumers to be vigilant when it comes to protecting their online identities and electronic devices.
“At Duquesne Light, cybersecurity is amongst our top priorities with each of us sharing the responsibility to protect our critical assets, the security of the electric grid and our customers’ personal information,” said Mark Miko, Chief Information Officer at Duquesne Light.
With many people still working from home, cybersecurity awareness has become more important than ever. In today’s world, we’re more reliant on online tools such as videoconferencing and chat programs. At the same time, most people don’t have sophisticated cybersecurity available in their homes like they might in the workplace.
Here are seven simple tips for maintaining cybersecurity while working remotely:
- Use strong passwords. Home Wi-Fi networks are a prime target for hackers to gain access and steal information. Use secure passwords that are 12 characters or longer, with upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
- Enable firewalls. Firewalls create a barrier to prevent cyber threats from entering your system. Your computer will typically have a built-in firewall, so make sure it’s set up and enabled.
- Secure your home network. Hackers are trying to access sensitive data through Wi-Fi networks. Change the name of your home network to something that’s not easily associated with you. Also, if you haven't changed your router password since it was first installed, update it with a secure password.
- Connect with a VPN. If your company has a virtual private network, use it. VPNs protect laptop data online while retaining the same security, functionality and appearance as if they were within the company network.
- Be aware of phishing scams. Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something right away, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or needs your personal information. Learn more about how to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
- Don't get personal. Many workers use company devices for personal use, increasing the risk of cybersecurity threats. Make sure you're the only person who uses your company computer, and use it only for company purposes.
- Backup data. Don't take chances with data storage, especially at this time. Make sure your data is continuously and securely backed up.
Even if you’re not working remotely, it’s still critical to stay protected online. If you experience any suspicious cyber activity or problems with your work device(s), immediately report it to your company's IT department. By taking proactive steps, you can help maintain a secure and productive work environment.
Please visit the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency’s website to learn more about Cybersecurity Awareness Month and staying cyber smart.