Many people claim they are more productive when working in the comfort of their own home than going to the office. Unfortunately, remote working can be prone to cyberattacks, as they are rising in 2021.
If you prefer working comfortably from anywhere, always be careful of cybercrimes. This article will walk you through nine ways to stay safe when working remotely.
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1. Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts online activities by hiding information, such as your device’s type and your current location. When connected to a VPN, your IP address will change according to the VPN’s server instead of your internet service provider’s.
Using a VPN is especially important when connecting to a public WiFi since it is even less secure and usually doesn’t even require a password. Hence, a VPN reduces the risk of specific cyber attacks like man-in-the-middle (MITM).
If you have your company’s login credentials and instructions, it’s vital to follow them. Many data breach cases are from using a free VPN, so keep in mind not to use your personal VPN for work-related activities, particularly those with free subscriptions.
2. Keep Software and Operating System Up-to-Date
Many tools or software help you enhance the remote working experience or be more productive. However, installing too many of them can slow your device and help attackers sneak into your computer.
Check your installed software periodically for updates, or use SaaS software which security measures are on the developer.
Your operating system also needs to be updated regularly. Typically, it will update automatically or according to your settings. At the very least, it will give you reminders to update every once in a while. Make sure to update it not too long after an update notification comes.
3. Create Strong Passwords and Update Regularly
Strong passwords can be a robust protective layer of your account. Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess, like birthdays or names.
Use a random set of numbers, letters, special characters, and make it different for every account. Reusing the same password for multiple accounts makes them prone to cyber-attacks.
If you find it hard to remember complex passwords, invest in paid password manager software. Many of them integrate seamlessly with two-factor authentication. Also, they can suggest strong passwords and store any sensitive credentials like credit card numbers.
In-office settings, password managers can also ease the password sharing process for shared accounts.
4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
In most data breach cases, hackers steal data by breaking passwords. Thus, making strong passwords alone isn’t enough.
It’s better to activate two-factor authentication as an additional security layer so that passwords alone can’t grant access to your account.
Generally, the second protective layer is a one-time code or a security key that will be sent to your phone number, email address, or an authenticator application like Google Authenticator.
However, I recommend not using a phone number to receive your second security code, as many attackers can manipulate telecommunication companies.
Furthermore, you can also use multi-factor authentication to get extra protection.
5. Install Antivirus Software
A computer virus is a program or code designed to reconstruct the way a program file works. Like a virus in the human body, it needs a host to replicate itself.
The virus can spread through many ways, including suspicious emails, links, file downloads, or even file transfers from any hard drive. It can corrupt files, steal credentials, or even spy through your webcam.
Sometimes, when one of your files is infected, the virus remains dormant and doesn’t show any sign. Thus, it’s important to check up on your device regularly.
Antivirus software works by scanning files on your device. It can be set as an automatic or manual process. Once it detects a virus on a file, you can clean it right away using the antivirus’ feature so that it won’t harm your files or even replicate to other files or programs in your computer.
Antivirus can also prevent any future malware. However, you should update it regularly to get the best possible protection.
Finally, only use and buy your antivirus software from trusted sources. If not, it can sabotage your device instead.
6. Secure Your WiFi Connection
Using your own WiFi connection at home doesn’t mean that you are safe from cyberattacks.
It is vital to change the default username and password of your WiFi regularly. Don’t use easy passwords as not only cybercriminals but also your neighbors can guess it and abuse your internet connection.
In addition, make sure that you activate your network encryption. The most secure type of home WiFi network is WPA2. Besides, check if the firewall is already activated to protect you from malicious network traffic.
Lastly, turn off your WiFi connection when nobody uses it to prevent any attempt to abuse your home internet connection.
7. Avoid Accessing Suspicious Websites and Links
Suspicious links can easily trick people by looking like official emails from your company or authorized organizations.
Therefore, read your emails meticulously, don’t just skim them. Hackers can trick you by just making a slight difference from legitimate links, like adding one letter or changing a domain name extension.
Check multiple times before clicking any links or filling in any credentials on the internet. If needed, confirm with your company whether they have sent the mail or asked you to fill in the form.
Also, be careful when browsing. Sometimes, suspicious links are popping up as an advertisement that’s hard to avoid.
Install an ad blocker plugin on your browser to prevent clicking any malicious advertisements by accident. Furthermore, download files only from the official sites.
8. Enroll Yourself in a Cyber Security Training
Generally, companies implementing remote working ask their employees to take cyber security training. Usually, it requires following the sessions that are continuously updated.
Make sure to understand the materials and implement them at your best, don’t just take it as a formality to follow.
If your company doesn’t provide training, you can enroll yourself in courses. Many Youtube videos or blog articles help understand the basic implementation of cyber security protection on your device.
Hackers are also improving themselves to find the smartest ways to sneak into your device. Training can keep you updated with the newest cybercrime threats so that you can be extra cautious.
Remember that you are also accessing your company’s data, so always be up to date with cyber security measurements to avoid unnecessary damage.
9. Set Up an Automatic Lock on Your Device
Always enable automatic lock on your device to prevent other people from seeing your work or creating unwanted changes when you leave your device unlocked.
Some people can harm your device or risk data breaches in public places on purpose.
Meanwhile, at home, your family members can make changes to your work unintentionally.
Hence, make sure you set your automatic lock within your convenient interval that’s not too fast or too long.
Remote working can be effective for some people. Some employers also consider remote working as a permanent solution. However, cyber security can be tricky since hackers are also constantly developing more innovative ways to steal data.
This article showed nine easy ways to implement when working remotely:
- Use a VPN.
- Keep software and operating system up to date.
- Create strong passwords and update regularly.
- Enable two-factor authentication.
- Install antivirus software.
- Secure your WiFi connection.
- Avoid accessing suspicious websites and links.
- Enroll yourself in cyber security training.
- Set up an automatic lock on your device.
We hope this article will help you find the best remote security solution and always be safe from any cyber-attacks.