Home Computing Security Guidelines

Overview

The guidelines on this page are high-level recommendations by UO's Information Security Office to help you to secure your home networks and internet connection.

For more information on how to apply these settings to your devices, please refer to the Related Articles panel on the bottom-right part of this page.

Information

Connect Securely

  • When buying a router for your home, choose a router that has a built-in firewall whenever possible and make sure you keep its firmware up to date.
  • Change the default wireless network name, also called a SSID, to something that you will recognize.
  • Change the default administrator username and password, and don't share the administrator password with anyone.
  • Manually configure built-in security features such as encryption and firewall during initial setup.
  • Use WPA2 or WPA3 for wireless encryption; avoid using the older WEP security standard because it can be easily hacked.
  • Make sure all devices on the network support the chosen security method; WPA2 is more commonly supported than WPA3.
  • Turn off wireless routers when they're not in use, if feasible.
  • Manage Wi-Fi signal strength so that it does not extend beyond your property. Use your phone or other device to walk out into the neighborhood and test the range of your Wi-Fi.

Protect Your Computers, Phone, and Connected Devices

  • Keep all your connected devices updated with the newest version of applications and operating systems.
  • Set a password, passcode, personal identification number (PIN), or biometric identifier for access to devices.
  • Make sure virus scanning and security software is installed, running and regularly updated.
  • Encrypt your data. Make sure you save the encryption key, without it you cannot access the encrypted data.
  • Backup your devices regularly with offsite backups.

Beware of Phishing, Scams, and Fraud

  • Don't click on links received in emails; type in the URL.
  • Don't open unsolicited on unexpected shared documents and email attachments.
  • Be on the lookout for COVID-19-related scams.

Protect Your Privacy

  • Cover your device’s webcam when not in use.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t access sensitive data — such as banking info, Social Security numbers (SSNs), health records, or credit card numbers — when people you don't trust could see your screen ("shoulder surfing").
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when connecting to a publicly accessible network/hotspot any time you transmit sensitive data. 
  • Lock your device’s screen or close your laptop when you are away from it.
  • Review the Privacy Policy for all your smart or connected devices, also called Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
  • Shred any sensitive documents that have been printed when you are done working with them.
  • Don't send sensitive information over unencrypted email.