The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how society functions, especially when it comes to modern work culture in the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Stemming from the Prime Minister’s plea for Britons to stay at home and a fear of being infected with COVID-19, many businesses have turned more flexible in allowing their employees to work from home.
There’s one problem, however: cybersecurity. With many employees working from home nowadays, there’s never been a greater opportunity for cybercriminals to access confidential information. In fact, there’s been an increase in hacks! It’s important for remote workers to practice proper cybersecurity.
5 Security Tips for Users
1. Encrypt Your Data with a VPN
Many Internet users disregard their security. They surf the Internet without any fear. However, no one is truly safe while on the Internet, not even when at home.
See, many networks are unencrypted, meaning the data sent from a user’s device is visible to everyone else on the network. So if a cybercriminal were to make their way onto your network? They could steal your data and use it for nefarious purposes (hacks, identity theft, fraud, etc.).
A VPN can help with your encryption problem, however. VPNs actively encrypt the data of the device or network it's installed on, masking your data from anyone else on the network. This makes sure your data stays secure and requires nothing from you except for you to turn the VPN on.
2. Don’t Mix Your Personal Life with Business
Working from home means you supply your own work devices. Many remote employees end up turning their personal computers into a personal/business hybrid device. And while this seems fine at first, opens up the user to a few security issues.
For one, using your personal device for business means that, if your device gets hacked, you’ll not only lose your data but the client’s/business’s data as well. Furthermore, it’s easy to accidentally mix up personal files and business files—accidents could happen.
To prevent this, separate your personal devices from your work devices. If that’s not possible, look into dual-booting so your work files and personal files have some degree of separation.
3. Read Up on Modern Phishing Tactics
Phishing scams affect thousands of people every year, and it’s not hard to see why. While people like to joke about obvious scams from the early days of the Internet (the Nigerian prince scam, for example), phishing scams have become much more sophisticated.
Links that take you to malware-ridden sites, emails that promise rewards in exchange for personal information, phone calls from fake Microsoft employees warning you that your device has a virus: these are phishing scams, and they can cause tons of damage to your device and life.
Take some time out of your day to read about phishing scams and what type of phishing scams are prevalent today. If you know how to identify phishing scams, you’ll be available to avoid them.
4. Keep Your Devices Close to You
Some remote workers prefer going out and working at a local café or library or other public building. A change of scenery can be the difference between a productive day and lazing around all day, after all! But there are a few rules you need to adhere to when working in a public setting, perhaps the most important being to stick close to your device.
Abandoning your device(s) for even a second opens up the door for a thief to snatch them and run out the door before you even notice. From there, the thief can sell the device to someone else or hack it for your data. Both are less than ideal.
Keep your eyes on your devices at all times, and take them with you whenever you get up.
5. Update Your Software
No piece of software is perfect, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. New cyber-threats appear every day. Software developers spend a lot of time adding defenses and protection to their software, and these security fixes come with software updates. However, many hold off updating their devices.
Always update your devices. Even if it’s annoying, that update could be the difference between a perfectly-functional device and a bricked, hacked device.
Working from home comes with its own benefits, but when it comes to security, all responsibility falls onto you. With these tips, you’ll be able to create a security paradise within your home—perfect for working from home!