There’s no doubt about it, the home office has become a target for cyber crime.
With millions of people working from home due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, they must be aware of the security risks they face while working remotely.
Why is the home office such a target today?
The technology is in place: 95% of the population owns a cell phone, and nearly three-quarters have a desktop or laptop computer, according to Pewinternet.org. Plus, a home office can be considered an easy target because there’s usually little or no budget or time for cybersecurity measures.
The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to make a home office more cyber-secure.
- Use the latest safeguarding technology. Install firewalls on devices as well as anti-malware and antivirus software.
- Don’t ignore security updates. Stay safe and current by setting up automatic updates and patches for software and operating systems.
- Follow a Remote Work Policy. Find out if your company or client has a Remote Work Policy – and follow it.
- Avoid risky apps. Reduce the attack potential of your network and devices and remove any applications and services if they aren’t needed. Do not download apps indiscriminately.
- Secure networks. Set user permissions on all devices allowing access only to those who need to be tied to a network. Protect networks with passphrases and change all default passwords on devices and smart appliances in the house that connect to the network. Don’t write passphrases down for others to see (on a sticky note, for example), or share them with anyone.
- Protect your network. If you have a lot of visitors, set up a guest network, separate from what you use for work.
- Never use random or found USB drives. Plugging in an unknown USB drive could introduce malware to your device.
- Learn to avoid phishing scams. Pause before you click on links in email, messages, or social media sites. Preview unrecognised or suspicious links by hovering over them (do not go any further if there is a misspelling or other irregularity, or if the link doesn’t match the text). Treat messages with generic greetings and attachments with suspicion. Verify messages by phone or in-person if necessary.
- Think before connecting to public Wi-Fi. When out of ‘the office’, use a virtual private network (VPN) if possible, and avoid doing sensitive work or making any financial transactions. (You could bring malware home.)
- Take precautions during downtime. Don’t over-share on social media. Hackers can use personal details shared online to commit fraud.
- Back up. Regularly back up important data so that if you are victim of ransomware, you will be able to get your files back without paying for them.
- Improve physical security. Keep doors locked, store laptops in locked drawers when not in use, and have discarded confidential data (on paper, hard drives and e-media) securely destroyed by a professional service provider.
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