Cyber Essentials for Home

19 Nov 2015: POST SUPERSEDED BY Cyber Essentials at Home.

Cyber Essentials is the new government standard for implementing a baseline of security in a business. To keep your own computers at home secure, does it make sense to implement it at home?
(Article first published on LinkedIn Pulse)

Cyber Essentials consist of advice in 5 core categories.

  • Boundary firewalls and internet gateways
  • Secure configuration
  • Access control
  • Malware protection
  • Patch management

From a home perspective this is all good advice too. Let’s explore each in turn in a little more detail.

cyber essentials

Boundary firewalls and internet gateways

At home, as a minimum you should:

  • Change the default password (and other parameters – link to blog above) of your broadband router.

Secure configuration

For home use this can be interpreted as:

  • Make sure personal firewalls on your PC are installed and switch on.
  • Uninstall software you no longer use.
  • Disable auto-run, to prevent malware on CD’s or USB’s from automatically infecting your PC.

Access control

A critical bit of advice is

  • Configure the user accounts on your PCs so you are not routinely logged in as the administrator. Only log in as the administrator when you have administrative functions to do. Do not use the Internet as an administrator – use a regular user account.

I cannot emphasise this enough – this a common failing I see on home PCs. When will the manufacturers configure this as the default?

Malware protection

We should all know about the importance of up to date anti-virus software. There is not much more to say here – just do it and make sure it’s kept up to date.

Patch management

And finally, keep applying all those pesky updates. It’s a pain, it takes time. But it’s vital. Keep doing it every month.


I’ve tried to pick out the essential essentials! The Cyber Essential document does describe further steps you can take – but in reality if I can persuade you to do the above, you’ll be a lot safer than without.