Working From Home? Follow These Cybersecurity Best Practices


Thanks to the pandemic, many organizations have incorporated work-from-home solutions to keep their operations running. While remote work has many advantages, it also poses several challenges.


This increasingly popular way of doing business has highlighted some serious security gaps that can put remote workers at risk for cyberattacks. Whether you’re an employee, a small business or a large corporation, you could benefit from practising good habits online. Here are some cybersecurity best practices to follow when working from home.


Cybersecurity best practices

If you access work-related applications and networks when working from home, your data could be at risk. The following best practices will outline what you should and shouldn’t do to keep your information safe:


Don’t use your work computer for personal tasks. Only use your work computer to do work-related tasks. Similarly, you should avoid using your personal computer to complete work assignments.


Don’t open unfamiliar attachments. Hackers can distribute malware through email attachments. Never open one that looks suspicious or is from an unknown sender.


Don’t install software on your work computer. Always seek permission before downloading or installing anything on your work computer.


Don’t re-use the same password. Always use different passwords for different accounts. Make sure to use a mix of capital letters, numbers and special characters to make them harder to guess. Your workplace might have a minimum requirement that outlines how long and complex your passwords need to be. All work-related passwords, including those used for your Wi-Fi and VPN, should meet this requirement.


Don’t use Bluetooth. Keep your Bluetooth turned off when you don’t need it. Hackers can access your device via Bluetooth.


Do use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using VPN is easy and it can keep you safe online. Most companies provide their remote employees with a free VPN to hide their online activity and guard against cybercriminals, but it only works if you remember to use it and to remain connected whenever you’re logged into your computer.


Do use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is a security feature that requires users to provide two or more methods of verifying their credentials electronically. More and more companies are making use of this technology to keep themselves safe from hackers.


Do remember to update your computer. Always keep your computer and security software up to date. This will keep you protected from new and existing security vulnerabilities.


Do follow company protocols to protect against malware. Many workplaces use secure file-sharing applications that encrypt files while they’re in transit to keep them safe from hackers. It’s also common for organizations to use anti-virus software to protect against malware. Always follow your company’s protocols when it comes to installing and using this type of software.


Do know how you’re at risk. Familiarize yourself with the risks in your industry and how cybercriminals might try to fool you. Knowledge is power and can help you stay one step ahead of hackers.


How cybercriminals attack

Cybercriminals can exploit any security vulnerability that allows them to gain access to your data. Once they have your personal information, they can use it in many ways to make a profit such as accessing your bank account, selling your credit card information or holding your information for ransom. Here are a few of the ways hackers may try to trick you:


• Phishing. Hackers may use a technique known as phishing to fool you into taking actions that can make you vulnerable. One common phishing scam hackers use involves sending an email impersonating one of your colleagues to try and get you to click on a link or open an attachment that contains malware.


• Malware. Any type of software that cybercriminals use to disable your network and gain access to your data is known as malware. Ransomware is one example of software that can be used to make your data inaccessible to you. Hackers will attempt to get you to provide a ransom in exchange for regaining access to your data. Spyware is software that spies on you to steal your data.


• Social engineering. Cybercriminals use social engineering to deceive and emotionally manipulate people into giving up their personal information. They use social media and other platforms to access private data. By sharing photos and completing random online surveys, you could inadvertently provide hackers with the answers to your account security questions.

You can make yourself less vulnerable to cyberattacks by understanding how cybercriminals work and by following smart cybersecurity practices.


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