As we’ve discovered during the last year, working from home has its pros and cons. Its benefits include cost-effectiveness, convenience, and schedule flexibility, while its disadvantages include communication impediments, teamwork struggles, and an increased risk of cyber-attacks. This article will focus on arguably the most dreaded and detrimental downside of remote working: exposure to cyber threats. Read on for 10 ways to keep yourself safe from hackers and other individuals with malicious intent while working from a home office.
Encrypt your connection
Data encryption is not something many people pay attention to, mostly because they don’t know how it works. Encryption can be defined as the practice of encoding data, such as converting plaintext into ciphertext using Surfshark or ExpressVPN. Both VPNs are good for promoting online privacy and are run on RAM-only servers. This is a new trend that prevents unauthorized parties from making sense of company or personal information if they get hold of it. Click here to learn more about Surf Shark and ExpressVPN.
To ensure all your communications are encrypted, make sure to use a secure VPN each time you send anything over the internet. It would also help if you avoided using unsecured public Wi-Fi on your work devices.
Beware of phishing emails
Phishing has been around for decades, and the reason it has stood the test of time is that people haven’t discovered a foolproof way to circumvent it. However, it is also the easiest kind of attack to prevent if you develop a habit of not clicking on any link addresses whose source you can’t verify.
Use strong passwords
If a hacker accesses your login credentials for work devices and business systems, they can log in without you ever knowing about the activity. Hackers use many tactics to obtain passwords, but the simplest one is buying them from the dark web. It may sound ridiculous, but there is a good chance your authentication credentials have been compromised if you have been using them for a long time. Make sure to change your device and account passwords regularly, and ensure each one of them is strong enough.
Use two-factor authentication (2-FA)
Even the strongest passwords can be compromised. Two-factor authentication provides a second layer of security on your devices and accounts by requiring two verification forms during sign-in. When this method is activated, a code will be sent to another device to confirm it’s really you attempting to sign in.
Educate team members
If you connect with team members who are also working from home, it is best to educate them on the dangers of cyber-attacks, as hackers can reach you through them. To start, each of your colleagues’ home networks should be secured. They should also know how to spot phishing attempts and prevent malware attacks using antivirus software. These proactive measures will help lower the risk of data breaches as a result of recklessness.
Dispose of sensitive files securely
Sensitive information such as your personal information and company files can land you into trouble. Working from home means that multiple people may be able to access your computer. Therefore, it is essential to completely delete your personal information and other sensitive files when you no longer need them. Someone can easily retrieve them from a recycle bin and use them against you and your company. However, the best way to avoid this is by not allowing your family members and friends to use your work computer.
Use strong antivirus software
Installing antivirus software on your laptop can save you and your organization a bunch in losses. With new technology, the number of cybercrimes is increasing. Hackers are now using VPN to access and exploit your internet.
Antivirus ensures that your computer is protected from various threats. For example, it saves your device from zero-day attacks, malware, Trojan, and phishing scams. You can rest assured that your computer is 100% protected. The exciting thing is that the software automatically updates itself to eliminate new and emerging threats.
Use a webcam cover
The work from home trend has made it almost mandatory to use a webcam for online meetings and video conferences. However, no one tells you that you risk your files and information to hackers when you leave your webcam on. Hackers can access your webcam without your permission. To make it worse, they can view your physical documents and the happenings in your house using your webcam.
Ensure that you unplug your webcam whenever you are not using it if it is separate from your device. If the camera is built-in, you may think of using sliding webcam covers to protect your device. Other protective measures include blurring the background during a video conference.
Avoid using local storage
The best way to protect yourself from threats is by storing your work in a cloud or server storage provided by your company. Keeping the data in local storage can be risky. There are so many things that can happen to your device to compromise your work. For example, your computer can crash, leading to data loss. However, data stored in cloud storage is safer. In any case, you will be the one to suffer the consequences if your company’s files are breached through your computer.
Beware of video conferencing security risks
If you work from home, there is a high chance that you use video conferencing. People have made a lot of complaints about video conferencing applications. For example, you may have heard about the Zoom application and how it has become unsafe for users. The biggest security concern is that if your video conference is monitored, then it is possible to leak sensitive information that may affect your client or organization. Top security tips for video conferencing include:
- Require a password for every meeting
- The chairperson should join first
- Lock calls after everyone has joined
- File sharing in the chat should be limited
- Meetings you should be recorded
- Put on notifications when meetings are forwarded
Cybersecurity is a difficult issue to contend with, even when working from home rather than in a traditional office setting. However, with the above tips, you can enjoy all the benefits of remote working without putting your data security on the line.