In this new age of society, working from home is the new norm. With many jobs being reliant on being online and using devices like computers and phones, there’s no need to be in a physical office anymore. However, similar to those who work in an office, keeping your work devices and sensitive information secure is of the utmost importance. This guide, Work From Home: Cybersecurity Tips, Best Practices, and More, will help you keep your home office safe.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity involves the methods in which a person or business can protect their networks, servers, devices, data, and more from a data breach, attack, or unauthorized access. Protecting one’s work and personal devices, and the information they store is important, especially for remote workers. You don’t want anyone accessing your devices and gaining control over them, and/or obtaining the data on them. Those who obtain your device information could use it against you or your customers to commit blackmail, identity theft, fraud, hacking, and more.
What Are Some Common Cybersecurity Risks?
Malware refers to malicious software that seeks to exploit and cause damage to devices, or gain unauthorized access to them. Usually, malware seeks to receive a device or network’s stored data, or crash them. There are many types of malware to look out for including spyware, viruses, ransomware, worms, and more. Any type of malware could infect your devices in a number of ways, such as through email attachments, downloading fake apps, visiting fake websites, and phishing emails.
Hackers target anyone they believe has valuable data they can use to their advantage. They will use methods such as phishing, fake apps and websites, and false contests in order to hack your network, server, accounts, and/or devices. With this information, hackers can commit a number of criminal actions including identity theft, fraud, blackmail, and illegally sell your information to third-parties.
A data breach occurs when confidential information is unintentionally or intentionally obtained and released by an unauthorized party. A business having their data compromised can greatly hurt their customers and business in a number of ways, besides loss of trust. Having a person’s data could lead to account hacking, fraud, identity theft, impersonation, and more. The criminals committing these data breaches are able to gain access to a business’s information by exploiting system vulnerabilities, knowing an employee’s password, downloading malware on a company device, and more.
Many businesses and employees working from home make the mistake of having only single-factor authentication. This means only having a password to protect your account. Having just a password protect your devices and accounts makes it easier for hackers and other online criminals to gain access to them.
Fake Wi-Fi Networks, Websites, and Apps
When working remotely or on the go, you may be using multiple Wi-Fi networks, visiting many websites, and downloading new apps to help you. However, hackers often disguise Wi-Fi networks, websites, and apps as coming from legitimate sources to lure in victims. These sources, once visited or downloaded, will give hackers access to the connected devices.
One of the easiest ways anyone can get access to someone’s work data and devices is by exploiting system or software vulnerabilities. Technology isn’t perfect, and often contains flaws that compromise networks and devices and make them vulnerable to attack. Because of this, any unauthorized party could access your data and personal information.
Cybersecurity Tips & Best Practices For Those Who Work Remotely
Use The Security Controls Your Devices and Accounts Offer
To protect your data, devices, and accounts, use all of the security features offered to you. You will usually see what’s available by going to your general, privacy, or security settings. This may include setting up 2FA (two-factor authentication), creating security questions, adding a recovery email/contact, authorized devices, and more.
Don’t Click On Links or Download Documents Sent By Strangers
One of the many ways malware can infect your device is by having clicked on a link or downloaded a document sent by a stranger. Often, the perpetrators will impersonate real coworkers or business opportunities to persuade you to complete some action. So, unless the file or link sent to you is definitely sent by someone and doesn’t look suspicious, don’t act.
Only Use Private Wi-Fi Networks
Using private, password protect Wi-Fi networks will help keep your devices and data secure from unauthorized parties. Never use public Wi-Fi as it could put you at risk of being hacked or your device becoming infected.
Be Careful What Programs and App You Download
There are many apps and programs online and possibly in the app stores that are fake, created by scammers, hackers, and other criminals. They are made to look legitimate in order to trick the user into downloading them. However, they are a tool used to install spyware and viruses on your device, as well as obtain your personal information.
Regularly Update Your Work Devices
To ensure device and network vulnerabilities are not exploited by hackers, ensure they are regularly updated. Oftentimes, the latest updates are created in order to fix security flaws found by the creators. Wi-Fi modems, computers, cell phones, tablets, laptops, and servers are among the many devices you should always update.
Create Strong Passwords
Strong passwords consist of 16+ random characters of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Having a strong password that is unguessable will lessen the likelihood of hackers guessing your password and accessing your account or device.
Avoid Other People Using Your Work Devices
Honestly, there’s no one you can trust other than yourself to be safe on your devices. Avoid having friends, family, and acquaintances using your devices. You don’t want them accidentally visiting a site or downloading an app that can put your device in danger.
Tools To Protect Your Devices From Threats Online
- Antivirus Software: This software will detect and quarantine any malware that is found on your devices.
- Password Manager: Passwords will securely keep your account passwords and login information.
- VPN (Virtual Private Network): Will encrypt your online data and activities while connected to public and private networks. This is especially useful for those who work on the go.
- Firewall: Most devices, especially computers and laptops, come with a built-in firewall which controls your networks incoming and outgoing data.
- Data Backup & Recovery Software: This software will continually backup an extra copy of all the data on your devices. This comes in handy if you’re worried about or you’ve been the victim of a data breach.
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