Stay Safe Online When Working from Home
As working from home has become more commonplace in recent years, so too have the cybersecurity risks to individuals and businesses. The increased distance between a company and its staff leaves workers more open to online dangers and cybercriminals looking to take advantage of what they consider to be isolated employees. Here are a handful of tips to help keep a hold of your sensitive information and peace of mind.
Antivirus software and 2FA
Ideally, an employer will provide a computer to you pre-loaded with all the security measures you could ever wish for. If they don’t, or if the security measures are lacking, your first port of call should be to install firewalls and antivirus software to keep you safe from pesky internet gremlins.
Two Factor Authentication is another essential, as it adds that extra layer of security to your account logins to keep out potential hackers. Make sure to keep your operating system and any security software updated so that their security features are always at peak effectiveness.
Avoid using your personal computer
If possible, use a device provided by your employer. Your personal computer is unlikely to have the carefully concocted combination of antivirus software, customised firewalls and automatic backup tools that a company-provided device might have. You also don’t want any mix-ups of personal and work info, so it’s best to keep the two separate if you can.
Use a password manager
Password managers are really nifty security tools. They’ll generate strong passwords for you and store them securely in an encrypted ‘vault’, always monitoring for data breaches and informing you if any info is at risk. Infinitely better than a post-it note or jotting passwords down in your diary.
Secure your home network
Make sure your Wi-Fi connection requires a password to access, and also try to change the easy-to-guess default password to your router’s settings, which you can access by typing the IP address from the router into any web browser. Securing your home network is a simple step you can take to stop anyone gaining unauthorised access to your devices and web activity.
Make use of VPNs
A virtual private network provides a secure link (like an encrypted tunnel between employees and their company’s network) that keeps all data and web traffic secure from any wrongdoers. VPNs could be especially useful if you like to work somewhere such as a coffee shop, where you might otherwise have to use an unsecure public Wi-Fi network.
Beware of phishing
A common way for cybercriminals to target remote workers is through phishing emails. Watch out for unusual emails from ‘colleagues’ containing suspicious links, asking for login details, or perhaps demanding you urgently pay an invoice you ‘forgot about’. Remain sceptical, stay in close contact with your colleagues via instant messenger or regular video calls, and always report anything suspicious.
Always apply common sense
Common sense is one of the best security measures out there and it’s the little things that make a huge difference. Don’t groggily open emails from your bed where you might click an iffy link without thinking. Try not to leave your work devices unattended, and if you do, at least make sure they’re locked. Don’t hold important virtual meetings in your local Starbucks. Be careful, too, when sharing your screen – you don’t want to leak any sensitive info by clicking on the wrong tab or having a surprise notification pop up. Losing concentration is an easy way to open vulnerabilities in your security, so try to stay switched on and take a break if you’re feeling sleepy.
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