Many of us use spring as a time to shake off the dust and tidy up around our homes. Since the work-from-home concept seems here to stay, it’s also a good time to take inventory of your home office and the connected devices in your home. Knowing what’s connected to your home WiFi is the first step to protecting your home office from a potential cyber threat.  

According to data from Comcast’s xFi Advanced Security platform, cyber-attack threats are up by as much as 12% since the beginning of the pandemic. Since last January, Comcast’s xFi Advanced Security has blocked nearly six billion cybersecurity threats – representing an average of about 104 per home, per month. 

Preventing cyber-attacks may sound like a daunting task, but you can reduce your chances of a threat and help protect your home network and the devices connected to it by employing a few simple habits. Here are a few tips for fine-tuning your workspace and sorting out your home office for optimal performance and security.

Get the latest firmware updates for every connected device in your home office

When was the last time you did a firmware update on your printer, webcam or voice assistant? Those updates often add new security features or patch holes, so they are critical to maintaining security. If it’s an option, enable “auto updates” whenever you configure a new device to ensure they are always up-to-date and protected.

Use multifactor authentication

If available, always enable multifactor authentication, which allows websites or services to confirm your identity using a combination of two or three distinct factors – typically something you know (a password or challenge question), something you have (a unique, time-sensitive code sent to your mobile phone) or something you are (a fingerprint or facial recognition on your phone). While it adds an extra step to logging in, it’s a simple and easy way to protect your accounts and information.

Have network protection…always

Check with your internet provider because there may be free or “value add” applications available to you. For example, Xfinity Internet customers are automatically protected by xFi Advanced Security, which provides a proactive barrier between their connected home and potential cyberattacks on the devices in their home.

The need for speed

Run a speed test from your router directly to your computer using a website like Speed Test. If you are troubleshooting, connect your computer directly to your router instead of using WiFi which will only test signal to that device. Your router should be in a centralized part of the house, preferably off the floor and away from major appliances and fish tanks, which may weaken the signal strength. Make sure your cable connections are tight which prevents loss. Also, network extenders are a great way to shepherd signal strength where you need it in the event your home office is in a distant corner of the house.

Outdated tech like old phones, tablets and devices connected to your WiFi network can slow things down. See what’s actually connected by using apps like xFi to see what is actually on your network. If you don’t recognize the device, delete it from your network.

The pandemic has certainly changed how we live, work and play. Feel confident that you can continue to work productively and securely by taking these steps and adding multiple layers of security to protect your home office.

Jeff Marston is vice president of Comcast Business in Indiana as well as Michigan and Kentucky.

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