Many of you telework during confinement. Serene at home, you should not forget the basic security rules with your IT work tools. Here are the good digital gestures of impeccable cyber hygiene.

The observation is unfortunate: in this troubled period when a biological virus forces half of humans to containment to contain the pandemic, cyber-scams are increasing and it is more necessary than ever to remain alert. According to the information site Undernews.fr specialized in computer security, the researchers of the company Barracuda ” noted a significant increase in the number of email attacks linked to COVID-19 since January, but they also observed since the end February a peak of this type of attack, up 667%“The digital thugs therefore take advantage of the fear around the Covid-19 to try to hijack sensitive information such as your passwords or your bank accounts. It is therefore up to you to be extra vigilant.

Whether you are at home or in the office, using the Internet requires some precautions to avoid unpleasant surprises. Let us review the famous good digital hygiene practices popularized in this period of confinement.

Some rules and good digital hygiene practices

1. Use a secure Wi-Fi connection

We will never repeat it enough: the use of an unsecured Wi-Fi access (you must at least enter a password) is to be avoided. And if you have no other solution, it is imperative to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) system which will take care of encrypting your data. Check that your home Wi-Fi network is well secured and offers encryption of your data. Most current internet boxes offer data encryption by default, but avoid WEP mode and much prefer WPA / 2/3. Also remember to change the default password for your box.

2. Activate firewalls and antivirus

Let’s stay in the configuration of your internet box and check that the firewall is activated – it is generally by default. This will limit intrusions on your local home network.

You can also activate the firewall on your computer. This may seem superfluous if the firewall of your internet box is already activated, but it allows you to set up a second security, and especially to monitor the applications that could use your connection without your knowledge. The operating system will ask you for authorization for new software wishing to access your internet connection. With macOS, go to “System Preferences …> Security & Privacy> Firewall”. With Windows 10, go to “Settings> Networks and Internet”. Click the “Firewall” link in the options displayed on the page and then activate Windows Firewall.

In the same vein, it is important to activate the Windows antivirus, and even the anti-ransomware protection if you evolve with Windows 10. The Windows Defender antivirus is activated by default, but you must however put protection against ransomware. Go to “Windows Defender Settings> Updates and Security> Windows Defender” then go to “Virus and threat protection> Virus and threat protection settings”. There, scroll through the options to “Controlled Folder Access Device” and activate the option.

3. Update your software

Whether it is your operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux …) or your remote working software such as internet browsers, office programs, it is imperative to keep your applications up to date. So take the time to download the new versions before starting the day. These updates can plug security holes and allow you to take advantage of the latest features.

4. Avoid installing little-known software

As much as possible, avoid downloading and installing software from an unknown or unreliable source. Prefer official sites and application stores (App Store). Before installing a new application, be sure to check on the Internet if there are any doubts about its reliability and integrity. You can also use our download service. All software has been tested to ensure that it does not contain any viruses or malware. For your communication software, prefer applications that offer end-to-end data encryption, such as Signal messaging , Firefox Send file transfer service ,

6. Beware of links and emails whose origin you do not know

Even if you use a VPN or an antivirus, you are not protected against phishingin English). It is an identity theft technique to steal personal and sensitive information, such as your passwords or credit card numbers. These are generally emails from official bodies such as a bank, your telephone operator or a government department asking you to go to a website that is actually a fraudulent site. Do not download applications, photos, videos from emails sent by someone you do not know or whose title seems suspicious. In general, think twice before communicating personal data, and this also applies if the request is made by phone!

7. Lock the session when you leave your post

Even when working at home, it is safer to lock your workstation when you are away for several minutes. In particular, this will prevent a child passing by from carrying out devastating maneuvers. In any case, locking your computer is a good thing to do.

8. Avoid using the same password

Password management deserves an article by itself. Note, however, that it is recommended not to use the same password to unlock your applications and other online services. Also choose long passwords, mixing letters, numbers and special characters. You can also use password management software which requires you to remember only one key phrase, the software then taking care of automatically opening your other software. Note that the government, via its cybermalveillance.gouv.fr service , recommends the use of Keepass software .

9. Stay alert to your children’s communications

The confinement of the pupils forced the whole French education system to put in place in a few days solutions to maintain correspondence with the pupils. In practice, teachers often had to improvise to chat via messaging like Discord , Slack , Google Classroom , WhatsApp , Zoom or Jitsi . So many new communication channels to watch out for, especially with the youngest. It is imperative to inform your children of the risks involved, to limit interactions with strangers and to avoid the exchange of personal photos.