CISO Update #28: September

Working Safely From Home (Continued)

We hope you are all having a safe and enjoyable start to the fall semester. As we continue  working, teaching, and learning remotely, we would like to keep providing tips and best practices to keep your home computers and home networks secure.

To secure your home computer and home network:

  1. Antivirus: Make sure you have an antivirus program working and that it’s set to update automatically. New viruses are released every hour, so it’s important for your protections to be current. Paid antivirus software is usually more sophisticated than the free versions, and often if you have more than one computer at home you can protect them all for one price. If you don’t want to pay for antivirus software, you can download Sophos home edition for free here. Note that if you’re a VPN user, you will not be able to connect if you don’t have antivirus or if its virus updates are older than seven days.

  2. Updates: Let your computer’s operating system and browser update automatically.  Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, Firefox, etc., all get frequent security patches. Make sure your systems apply them automatically.

  3. Sharing Devices: If you're using a shared computer at home, set up individual accounts for each household member. That protects FIT information and helps to insulate work materials and software from things other users may have downloaded. Here are the instructions on how to do this on Windows and Mac

  4. Wi-Fi: Make sure your Wi-Fi network is encrypted using the WPA2 standard. Older standards, like WEP, can easily be cracked. If you are not sure what network encryption your home network is using, you can always contact your internet service provider to inquire. Make sure to change the administrator password on your home routers and extenders to something other than the default. Hackers know the default password that ships on each model of router and can easily use it to steal data or use your network to attack others. Use a long, complex password for your home network. Remember, you don’t enter it often.

  5. Router: Make sure your router firmware is up to date. Home wireless routers, like all other devices, get updates in response to security threats. Update it every few months or if the manufacturer suggests it. If you’re not sure if your home network router is set to automatically update, you can always call your internet service provider to inquire.

  6. Freeware: Don’t download freeware unless it comes from a VERY reputable source.  Lots of freeware contains advertising hooks at best, and at worst could contain software to steal keystrokes, information, or passwords, or infect your system with viruses like ransomware. Remember: If you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product.


In the 2020 State of the Phish, a threat report published by, they asked thousands of working adults from around the world about their home Wi-Fi hygiene and found:

  • Only 49% of users password-protect their network

  • 31% have changed the default password on their Wi-Fi router

  • 19% have checked and/or updated their Wi-Fi router’s firmware

Not paying attention to things like computer updates, default passwords, and router maintenance can leave you vulnerable to cybercriminals being more effective at committing malicious activities on your home computer network.  


Stay aware, and stay cybersafe! 


About Cybersafe
The Division of Information Technology is dedicated to informing the community of the latest cybersecurity threats. Visit and stay tuned for emails from for the latest from the Cybersafe campaign at FIT. Read past issues here.