Security

Essential Online Security Tips for Remote Working

Working from home has become increasingly common over the past few years. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, remote working became a lifeline for many businesses allowing them to continue to trade without putting employees at risk. However, increased use of IT equipment away from the workplace has led to a spike in cybercrime. Organized criminals have seized the opportunity to profit from phishing, hacking and identity theft and many remote workers are soft targets.  

Working from home has become increasingly common over the past few years. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, remote working became a lifeline for many businesses allowing them to continue to trade without putting employees at risk. However, increased use of IT equipment away from the workplace has led to a spike in cybercrime. Organized criminals have seized the opportunity to profit from phishing, hacking and identity theft and many remote workers are soft targets.  

The following tips can help remote workers reduce the risk of cybercrime.

organized criminals have seized the opportunity to profit from phishing, hacking and identity theft

1) Understand your company’s security policies.

Simple human errors can expose IT systems to attack. All employees must understand their company’s policies with regards to safe and secure use of IT equipment. For example, remote workers may be required to access company systems via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Use of laptops and mobile devices may be restricted to specific websites and files, and access to social media networks may be forbidden. Downloading and installing software that hasn’t been checked and approved by your company’s IT department can lead to serious problems.

2) Use company approved antivirus software.

Every time you connect to the internet, your equipment can be open to attack. Antivirus software is the first line of defense against malware breaching your employers’ systems. Don’t try to install your own antivirus software or activate firewall protections, as these could interfere with pre-installed security. Large companies often use more sophisticated antivirus protections than those designed for personal use at home.

3) Secure your Wi-Fi Router.

Modern home Wi-Fi networks are encrypted as standard, but they can be vulnerable if you don’t change the password. Default passwords are a weak link in home internet security. Follow the instructions for your router and select an appropriately secure password to prevent hackers from sneaking into your devices through the back door.

Software Update

4) Run regular updates.

Cybercrime is big business, and the organizations behind it have access to expertise, funds and resources. They find ways to bypass security systems and to exploit weaknesses, so antivirus software developers are constantly making new releases available. It’s important to keep your software up to date and install the latest versions. Software settings allow you to select updates to be installed automatically. Browsers should also be updated regularly to close the door on security loopholes.

5) Use secure passwords.

When used correctly passwords are one of the most effective ways to protect yourself online. Weak passwords can be hacked in seconds, so it’s important to choose ones with enough characters and a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Connecting three random but memorable words is a simple way to create secure passwords. Some banking and social media services now offer the option of two-factor authentication, which makes it virtually impossible for cybercriminals to access your accounts.

Another good idea could be to use a password manager for example such as LastPass, 1Password or Keeper Password Manager. This way you could generate incredible long passwords without having to remember them. Just make sure your company allows for this as many of them are cloud based.

Be alert and cautious like a cat.

6) Be alert and act with caution.

Humans are often the weak link in the chain when it comes to online security. Clicking on links, failing to protect personal data and sharing usernames and passwords are common mistakes. Be alert at all times when online as cyber fraudsters used cloned accounts and fake profiles to hide their identity. Never release financial or other sensitive information unless you are confident you are dealing with a trusted source.

There are nowadays services also that could help you with digital ID protection. An example in Sweden would be UC, they work in a way where you can provide certain important, personal information to them. If they find your information in various “dark” places, or they find your email for example in a hacked dump they will inform you of this.

The move to remote working has many advantages, but it carries an increased risk of cybercrime. Follow the tips in this article to protect your company and your data when working from home.

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