In the light of the lockdown, millions of people worldwide have had to make an abrupt transition to working remotely. In many instances, working from home poses security threats to the internal network and corporate data. When employees fail to secure their connection and devices, they risk falling prey to hackers and digital con artists. This post aims to help you stay on the safe side while working outside the office.
The most common remote work security risks
Here is a quick rundown of common online risks and how you can avoid them.
- Using an unsecured Wi-Fi network. It’s vital to secure your Wi-Fi network when you work outside your company’s firewall. That includes changing default username and password, enabling network encryption and built-in firewalls, using Virtual Private Network (VPN) and regularly updating software.
- Using personal devices to access the company’s network. If you are a part of a bring-your-own-device movement, you know that it has many perks, but it needs to be done right. That means using powerful antivirus software, personalized firewalls, and using best malware removal practices if your device gets compromised.
- Phishing and scams. There’s an uptick in fraud that targets remote workers. Perhaps, you have received scam emails from “government,” “bank,” or “public health organization.” It is dangerous to follow links or download attached files in such emails. Do not open unsolicited emails, click links and attachments, or initiate contact to stay on the safe side.
Cybersecurity tips for remote workers
Despite an abrupt transition to remote, many companies have implemented cybersecurity policies. You can check with your IT department to learn about your company’s existing security protocols. Additionally, follow these bits of cybersecurity advice.
Tip 1. Create varied passwords
Use unique passwords for each account. A strong password has 15+ characters (numbers, letters, and symbols), upper and lower cases.
Tip 2. Secure your accounts with two-step authentication
Many services offer two-step authentication, which is an additional password required to log in. A fingerprint scanner or Face ID can be used to add an extra security layer.
Tip 3. Use a VPN
A VPN makes your data, online activity, and location invisible to the prying eyes. Your IT department can probably recommend one that offers fast speed and reliable connection.
Tip 4. Enable a firewall
Wi-Fi routers typically come with a built-in firewall, which can effectively shield your connection from potential cyberattacks. Make sure it’s enabled.
Tip 5. Install antivirus software
Antiviruses can detect malware, even if it finds its way through a firewall. Ask your IT department to help you find the best one.
Tip 6. Don’t skip updates
Updates protect your device from recently uncovered threats. So, update your software and the router’s firmware as soon as an update is available.
Tip 7. Back up data
Cyberattacks can be the cause of data loss. To alleviate this risk, be sure to back up your data manually or use cloud storage for automatic backup.
Tip 8. Beware of phishing emails
Cyber con artists send scam emails in hopes to steal financial information. Be especially careful with emails from unknown senders containing links and attachments. It’s best to ignore them altogether.
Tip 9. Use encryption tools
Most of the latest mobile devices come with full-disk encryption features, and several chat apps provide secure end-to-end encryption for safe conversations, for example, Wikr, Discord, and iMessages.
Tip 10. Keep your device safe
Finally, keep your devices locked with a passcode, PIN, face or fingerprint lock. These are the baseline measures you can take to protect your company data and personal device – and to work from home safely.