The coronavirus pandemic has led to millions of us working from home instead of the office. While this can be convenient, it can also increase the risk of a cyber attack. In this article, we will give you some useful tips that can help you to stay safe while working from home.
The risks of working from home
Thanks to fast internet technology, remote working was already becoming a reality for many workers, and the lockdown has only intensified that trend. The benefits are obvious, in terms of cost-saving for companies and convenience for workers, but this new way of working comes with risks. Not only can home workers put their own privacy in jeopardy, but they can also put the security of the business at risk.
Although most homeworkers will opt to work from home, utilising their secure home Wi-Fi, it can sometimes be convenient to work in cafes or other places with unsecured Wi-Fi networks, potentially leaving worker and company vulnerable to hacking.
Often home workers have to use their own devices and home networks in their work. These can often lack the robust tools provided by their company’s IT support section, such as firewalls, online backup and effective antivirus software that are present in work systems, leaving worker and organisation vulnerable to malware. As part of of Cyber Security when remote working, try to make sur that your company can provide you with a device configured and maintained.
As more people work from home, there is likely to be an increase in the variety of malicious online campaigns targeting home workers and those who would like to work from home.
How to stay safe as a homeworker
As part of our Cyber Security recommendations when remote working, you should always stay up to date with the latest security measures implemented by your company, and it can often be a good idea to read up on advice from a reputably IT company. In addition, there are some simple but important steps you can take right now to stay safe online.
Choose robust passwords
Many of us continue to use the same password for several accounts, which means that a criminal with access to one password can often wreak havoc, using that password across multiple sites and accounts, using a technique known as credential stuffing. Make sure all of your passwords are unique and employ a variety of numbers, special characters and upper and lower case letters.
Go two-factor –
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Two-Step Verification (2SV) adds an extra stage to the verification process, such as a text message confirmation, or a biometric method, which adds an extra layer of protection to the regular password method. Check our latest article on office 365 mfa.
Consider a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is often used to get around geographic restrictions when using streaming sites, but it can also help to protect your online privacy. It encrypts all of your internet traffic, making it much harder for hackers and other malicious operators to access your systems.
Use firewalls and anti-virus software
Firewalls create a barrier between the internet and your device, which can help to block malicious software, and when used in conjunction with antivirus software, can provide a double line of defence.
Secure your router
Many of us haven’t changed the password on our home routers since they were installed. Regularly changing your router password is a good way to boost the security of your home network.
Software updates can be irritating, but it is important to ensure they are installed as soon as possible, as they often include security patches to cover newly emerging cyber threats.
Always back up
There are many ways to lose data, whether that is through hardware damage, human error or cyberattack, including ransomware, which can wipe your entire system. Whether you use hardware or cloud back-ups, get into the habit of regularly backing up your information. check for more information on online backup.
Be alert to phishing scams
Phishing is an email technique used by cybercriminals for a variety of reasons, including credit card fraud and account takeovers, and these attacks are likely to increase as the ranks of homeworkers grow. Look out for clues that an email might be a phishing attack, including spelling errors or poor grammar in the subject line or even the email address of the sender.
It is also important never to open a link or attachment unless you completely trust the sender, and if in doubt, contact the sender by other means before you open the link. It can also be a good idea to check for potential phishing attacks when you open a new site. These can include misspellings in the domain names, missing contact details and the absence of an ‘about’ section.