Information Security Central - November 2016

​These days, work follows us home more than we care to admit. We're conducting  university business and—as a direct result—accessing university data from personal computers or from our home networks. With this type of access commonly happening at home, securing your home network is not only important for your own security and privacy, but it's important for CMU's security as well.

Here are a few things you can do to set up even a basic layer of security on your home network:
  • When you set up your wireless router, make sure to change the default administrator account and password settings. Failure to do so can make it very easy for would-be troublemakers to access and monitor your network.
  • When you set up the password us​ed to access your wireless network, make sure to use a complex password with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Don't use something easy to guess like the name of your network.
  • If you're comfortable with this kind of thing, log into your router and double-check your security settings. If possible, you should be using at least WPA. WPA2 is more secure, but it might not play nicely with all of your connected devices.
  • If your router doesn't support these settings, it might be time for an upgrade.

Of course, it's not uncommon to find oneself out and about on CMU business. Whether you're staying at a hotel for a conference or you're just sitting at a local coffee shop for a change of scenery, your only choice for Wi-Fi might be an unsecured network used by dozens of people. Luckily, CMU provides a service to improve your network security from insecure networks.

If you're ever in a place where you're connected to a public network, whether you're accessing CMU information or not, you're always safer when connected to CMU via a virtual private network (VPN). This creates an encrypted connection between your computer and CMU's network, preventing snooping from others on the local public​ network. To find out more about connecting to CMU via VPN, check out our knowledge base articles on VPN​.