With more and more individuals working remotely, it is important to be aware of Cyber Security and make sure that you and your company are taking the steps to stay secure. The internet era and progress in technology has made it simpler for many of us to complete our day to day tasks from the comfort of our homes, however, there are a number of things to be aware of when it comes to Cyber Security. This blog will cover 7 simple steps to improve security while working remotely.
1. Have a secure Wifi Network
While working remotely it is important to ensure you are on a secure wifi network, if your network is not secure it is possible for hackers to intercept what you send or enter online, including passwords for remote access to corporate documentation and emails. Try to avoid working on public wifi networks such as coffee shops, as these public available networks are easier for cybercriminals to get into. If you are working from your home network you have the ability to make this more secure by changing the connection password, be sure that it is not the password that was given when your modem was installed.
2. Be aware of phishing emails and sites
Phishing emails, phone calls and text messages are used by cybercriminals to steal or “phish” for information. This information is usually used in further plans with the end goal of credit card fraud, and account takeover fraud. Phishing scams are on the rise targeting remote workers that may not have the same security, with the goal to gain personal information or access to company accounts, it is important to be aware of what to look for.
The first thing to look at is the sender’s email address, frequently cybercriminals will have a familiar email domain but when looked at closely it is misspelled, it is also important to look for spelling errors and poor grammar within the subject line and email body. If you are unsure about an email, save yourself the risk and do not click URLs within the email, it is important to never fill in any login information if it requests this, for example, “your account password will expire if you do not fill in your login information by said date”. One safe way to check if there is an issue with your login is to go to the official website that the email is claiming to come from and fill in the information there; if it does not mention your password change you know that this was a scam email.
There are various scams related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, fraudsters are trying to profit from consumers' fears, uncertainties, and misinformation; exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cybercrime. Check out our blog to learn more: Avoid COVID-19 Scams
3. Create strong passwords and lock your devices
Making sure your passwords are strong is important, this makes it much more difficult for cyber criminals to get into your account even if they are in the process of scamming you. It is also important to lock your devices when you are not using them and never to leave your devices unsupervised in places such as your vehicle or a coffee shop. If you find you are forgetful with locking your devices, there is a way within your device settings to make them automatically lock after a set period of inactive time.
4. Set up a Firewall and use Anti-Spam Software
Firewalls are set up on devices to defend against internet threats from entering and altering your system. This is done by creating a barrier to the internet by closing ports of communication, helping to prevent data from leaking and malicious programs from entering. Your device may already have a built-in firewall, however, it is important to make sure that it is enabled. If you cannot find any type of Firewall on your device there are plenty of third-party Firewalls available, one reliable and free option is AVS Firewall.
If a threat is able to make it past a Firewall it is important to have Anti-Spam software downloaded, enabling it to detect and in some cases remove malware. Norton Antivirus and McAfee are Anti-Spam Software are options if you don’t already have antivirus software. If you do have a Firewall and/or Anti-Spam software installed on your device it is important to make sure it is up to date and running properly.
5. Deploy a VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and is used to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. A VPN will allow you to safely access corporate documentation and files while working remotely, as well as help to secure your browsing activity on Wi-Fi networks. When you connect your computer or another device to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN.
Using a VPN has many benefits, some including:
- Improved online privacy
- Enhanced security
- Improved performance
- Easy access to shared files
- Data encryption
6. Save and back up data
Data can be lost in a number of ways, including human error, physical damage to hardware, or a cyber attack. It is important to back up your data to avoid the risk of any of these scenarios. If you are unable to back up your data, try saving documents within the cloud or using online tools to create these documents such as Google Drive.
7. Educate Employees
As an employer, it is important to be educated on cyber security risks, with this knowledge you are able to inform employees of what they need to be careful of, and policies should be put in place to ensure safety. Your employees should have access to basic security advice, as well as a point of contact if they are unsure of something security-related; for instance, an email from an unknown address asking for files or login information.
If you are finding it difficult to stay productive while working remotely, check out our other blog 5 Tips to Succeed at Working from Home.