A step by step guide to securing your home computer to work from home.
Part 1: Update Everything
The absolute number one priority to securing any computer is to ensure the system is up to date. This process is often completely automatic, but when you are working from home you may need to take some extra steps to achieve this objective:
- The first step is to update your operating system, if you are running Windows 10, you can do this from your Start Menu by typing Check For Updates; or if you are using a Mac, go to the Apple menu -> System Preferences and then Software Update. Both vendors have a regular update schedule and critical updates should be delivered automatically. Manually checking ensures that you get the missed updates or the optional but important patches.
- Next, we need to look at the software on your computer. In many cases, software is installed and forgotten about. Go through your installed applications, and start with uninstalling anything that you no longer need. If your computer is primarily going to be for work purposes, consider uninstalling games as well. By decreasing the number of applications installed, you are reducing the potential attack surface, resulting in a significantly safer experience. In Windows 10, you can also uninstall the bundled apps by searching for “Apps & Features” in the Start Menu.
- After putting your computer on a diet, and getting rid of all those extra applications, time to start updating what is left. This can be a tedious process, but well worth the effort. Go through the remaining applications, open them up and look for a way to update them, or verify you are running the latest version. If an application has not been updated in a while, check with the vendor if there is a new product you should be upgrading to, if not consider looking for a replacement. Un-maintained applications are a breeding ground for security vulnerabilities. Apps like Ninite, allow you to update many of your applications all at once at one time, making the process a lot smoother.