The home computer user is often said to be the weakest link in computer security. They do not always follow security advice, and they take actions, as in phishing, that compromise themselves. In general, we do not understand why users do not always behave safely, which would seem to be in their best interest.

Moreover, as applications are becoming more interesting/useful and businesses are moving away from paper, home computer users are performing more sensitive tasks online and storing more private data on their computers. Although home users are frequent targets of attacks and the security software market (primary source of defense for home users) currently brings in more than $4 billion, relatively little is still known about how the home user views security threats, privacy threats, and defenses.

At GNS, we have discovered that home users tend to be more reactive then proactive when it comes to protecting their home devices such as laptops, PCs, tablets, and smartphones. In other words, the majority of home users only come to reality with cyber security when they actually experience a breach or attack. So how do you keep your personal information and devices protected from cyber criminals?

Our Expert’s Opinion
(Slaven Manning, MCSE)

Minimum Security Solution:

For the home user, the absolute minimum IT security solution would be an up-to-date antivirus running on all computers and tablets, regardless of their Operating Systems.

Recommended Security Solution:

Recommended IT security for the home user/network would include at least the following:

  1. Does the home utilize a wireless router or have other wireless internet connectivity? If so, then that device needs to have wireless encryption turned on and the “SSID broadcast” needs to be turned off.
  2. Does the home router/modem have a firewall capability? If so, then that firewall should be active and filtering internet traffic.
  3. Each device capable of running an antivirus software package should have such a package installed with a current version of the product and with current updates applied.
  4. Ideally, the software package in (2.) will also include an anti-malware module.
  5. If the home uses any email client (such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc.) other than a web-based connection, the antivirus software package in (2.) should also be capable of scanning incoming emails and attachments for viruses, spam, and malware.
  6. All computers, tablets, and another other devices running an Operating System capable of being updated should have available updates applied regularly and as appropriate (especially true for Microsoft Security Updates).
  7. The home should have one person designated to monitor and apply updates as appropriate to each device capable of being updated.

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