Protecting your home computer network: Tips from the professionals

October 31, 2014

Scott Jones is the Director General of Cyber Defence at the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). CSE provides advice, guidance and services to help protect government networks and electronic information. The Cyber Defence branch at CSE works to stop malicious cyber threats on government systems and helps departments understand the cyber threat environment.

If you saw a blog about the benefits of patching your cyber systems and running the most recent versions of your browser, you might click somewhere else. But as you read further, you’ll see that patching and other small, but important, tasks have big benefits that protect your systems and the important information they contain.
CSE’s work in protecting government systems is a crucial job. The Government of Canada is targeted by malicious cyber activity every day from a variety of terrorists, foreign states, hacktivists, and criminals.  Why? Government systems hold important information like Canadians’ private information, trade secrets, information about new technology and our natural resources, and much more.  Access to this information is a desirable thing, and it’s our job at CSE to constantly look for, and stop, these malicious activities.

While CSE is primarily focused on protecting government systems, the advice and guidance we provide to government departments is useful to anyone looking to better protect their own systems at home.

So what are some of the ways that cyber criminals try to infiltrate computer networks? Two of the most common ones we see are:

These are only two examples, but cyber threats appear in all shapes and sizes.

How do you protect yourself? The reality is there is no quick fix or easy solution to cyber security. But there are steps you can take to significantly (and I mean significantly) hinder cyber threats.  

The most important step is to patch against known vulnerabilities. Download and install patches for your operating system applications, Internet browsers, anti-virus software, as often as you can. Malicious code that exploits unpatched systems is frequently available within hours of a vulnerability being known, but often so are the patches. An up to date system is more resistant and resilient in the face of a cyber threat.

The vast majority of malicious activity could be thwarted if individuals were more diligent in patching their systems.  There isn’t anything profound or complicated about installing patches or updating your anti-virus software, but they can have a big impact on your security.

Want to learn more? CSE has advice to help IT professionals and individual users protect their systems, and the information they contain, from cyber threats.


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Comments

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Comments

John

Keeping away from malicious attacks is not only a responsibility of specialized agencies. This is an attitude that one develops over time while being careful - checking Emails and browsing the web. Many it services in fort worth have been able to avoid malicious attacks from potential hackers by not clicking on Emails that they did not recognize or were too good to be believed.

Linda

my crazy exboyfriend is spying on my messenger ..what steps shoulditaketo stopthis

"Consider changing your password to something he would not be able to access. Click for more on password safety."

Barbara

If I back up my computer, wipe it clean and reload it, am I going to get my same problems.

"Information on backing up your computer can be found here: https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/prtct-dvcs/strg/bckps-en.aspx However, If you're not sure about any of these steps, you may want to consult a professional, such as a computer repair service."
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