The National Security Agency (NSA) maintains a list of NSA Cybersecurity Advisories & Guidance and recently released a list of Best Practices For Securing Your Home Network. These are certainly worth taking a look at and for folks worried about downloading a PDF from the NSA, I’ve listed the primary recommendations at the bottom of this blog.
While reviewing the document, though, I noticed a link to their Mobile Device Best Practices and wanted to pass that along as well. While some of the best practices are more geared towards people working in a classified environment, many of them are indeed just best practices. While I understand not wanted to be ever vigilant (or paranoid!), here are a few of the best practices that I regularly follow:
- Avoid public Wi-Fi. Today, mobile networks are so fast I generally find it easier to just use my device’s network. I also try to tether my laptop with my laptop vs. connecting to public Wi-Fi.
- I always apply software updates when they are available as many of them patch known (and sometimes actively exploited) security issues.
- Use biometrics as people can shoulder surf and discover your passcode which can lead to complete digital takeover.
- Generally avoid clicking on links in text messages as this is a common vector for identify theft and more.
- Only charge your device with a charge cord you own and preferable plug into a power outlet (vs into a device you don’t trust)
Best Practices For Securing Your Home Network
Here’s a summary of the recommendations but really, it’s OK to download their PDF and check of the full recommendations and the rationale behind them! :-)
Recommendations for device security
- Upgrade to a modern operating system and keep it up-to-date
- Secure routing devices and keep them up-to-date
- Implement WPA3 or WPA2 on the wireless network
- Implement wireless network segmentation
- Employ firewall capabilities
- Leverage security software
- Protect passwords
- Limit use of the administrator account
- Safeguard against eavesdropping
- Exercise secure user habits
- Limit administration to the internal network only
- Schedule frequent device reboots
- Ensure confidentiality during telework
Recommendations for online behavior
- Follow email best practices
- Upgrade to a modern browser and keep it up-to-date
- Take precautions on social networking sites
- Authentication safeguards
- Exercise caution when accessing public hotspots
- Do not exchange home and work content
- Use separate devices for different activities