Cyber security checklist: Learning, teaching, and working from home
Paul Muir, IT Security Manager and Information Security Officer, McMaster University
Working from home increases cyber security risk. The protective controls that are available on the university network are no longer protecting you, so increased diligence is required on your part in order to mitigate the increased risk. The following is a checklist to help you with your cyber security responsibilities as part of the extended IT Security team. Sending you a virtual high five for taking the time to protect our shared online environment!
Ensure you have a strong password
- Long: MacID passwords must be a minimum of eight characters, but we recommend at least 12 characters for increased security.
- Complex: Your password should not contain common dictionary words or names, and must contain characters from three different character sets, such as upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols.
- Unique: Your MacID password should be used only with your MacID to access McMaster resources. If you have signed up for other services using your McMaster email account, you should use a password there that is different.
- Secret: Don’t share your password with anyone!
Secure your computer
Use a McMaster-issued laptop to access McMaster resources whenever possible. If you are using a personal computer to access McMaster resources:
- Automatically install software updates.
- Enable the personal firewall.
- Install antivirus protection.
- Install browser security and privacy extensions.
- Limit access to the computer you use to access McMaster information.
- Lock your computer when you are away from it.
Secure your home network
Refer to your router manufacturer’s support site for details on how to do these things.
- Change default passwords to strong ones.
- Create a separate Wireless SSID through which only you connect for doing your work.
- Update your router firmware.
- Use McMaster-provided collaboration tools to share information and communicate.
- If you are collaborating with colleagues on McMaster documents or if you’re using McMaster information, avoid using services that are not protected by MacID (i.e. those for which you don’t login using your MacID).