Working from home has become considerably more common in the aftermath of the pandemic. Even after the pandemic is over, many experts believe that remote working will continue to be popular in a variety of industries.
While working from home offers numerous advantages, it also exposes businesses and their employees to a variety of cybersecurity threats. As such, to safeguard important data, it is critical to give home cybersecurity serious consideration. With a few key practices, anyone can keep themselves safe from most cybersecurity work from home threats.
How to Keep Yourself Safe While Working From Home
The surge in remote working has seen the rise of certain cybersecurity dangers, such as phishing. This is because homes barely have IT staff who are in charge of cybersecurity like company offices. In light of this, as a distributed workforce working from home, employees must be more aware of cybersecurity concerns.
Here are 10 key points to keep you and your employees safe from cybersecurity threats while working from home:
Secure Your Home WI-FI
Strengthening the security of your home Wi-Fi network is one of the simplest ways to assure cybersecurity for remote workers. You may accomplish this by following a few simple steps.
• Rather than depending on the router’s default password, create a strong, unique password.
You can update your router’s password by typing “192.168.1.1” into your browser. Be careful to pick a password that is difficult for others to guess. On the same settings page, you could also alter your wireless network name or SSID to make it more difficult for third parties to identify and access your home Wi-Fi network. Use nothing that could be used to identify you, such as your name or home address!
• Make sure network encryption is turned on.
Typically, you can enable network encryption via the security settings on your wireless configuration page. You’ll have the option of using WPA2, WPA or WEP for advanced security. If you’re utilizing recent routers,(after 2006), WPA2 is the best option.
Restrict network access to specific MAC addresses.
Every device that connects to your network has a unique MAC address (if you have Command Prompt, simply open and type “ipconfig/all” to obtain the addresses of all devices). For additional security, add the addresses of validated devices to your router’s settings so that access is limited to them only.
• Last but not least, make sure you’re running the most recent version of your firmware.
To stay on top of things, simply check your router’s settings page regularly. Patches and software updates can be used frequently used to fix security issues.
Install Antivirus and Internet Security Software at Home
Investing in a complete antivirus package for you and your staff is one of the most effective security steps to take when working from home. Research shows that the global cost of cybercrime to businesses amounts to more than €1.4 billion annually.
As hackers try to acquire access to sensitive files through people’s home internet networks and company VPNs, this number is only going to rise. You, your company, and your employees could be vulnerable to spyware, malware, DDoS assaults, ransomware, and other forms of breaches as a result of these attacks.
Antivirus suites do the heavy lifting for you by providing automatic remote work security against a variety of dangers, such as:
• Viruses, spyware, and malware
• Phishing scam.
• Zero-day attacks (viruses that attack before security measures are put in place)
• Worms and Trojans
A complete antivirus suite, such as Kaspersky Total Security, can not only defend against up to 100% of online security threats, but it also automatically updates itself to keep up with new and emerging dangers. It also works quietly in the background of your other operations, so you won’t be aware of its rigorous efforts.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Connecting your computer to the company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN connection) is common when working remotely, but this opens up new home office security ‘back doors’ that hackers could use.
It is therefore critical to provide employees with work-from-home security advice and guidance, as well as policies on how to be a safe remote worker. Companies should also look for measures to improve the security of their VPN.
Using the most secure authentication method feasible helps improve VPN security. Many VPNs employ usernames and passwords, but you might want to consider switching to smart cards. You can also improve your VPN encryption mechanism by switching to a Layer Two Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP) from a Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol.
Of course, no matter how secure your VPN is, if one of your employees’ passwords is exposed, hackers will have an easy way in. As a result, staff must update their passwords frequently. Employees should also be reminded to only use the VPN when necessary and to turn it off if they are using their work devices for personal purposes in the evenings or on weekends.
Since employees use their home networks and internet connections while working from home, teach them how to configure their wireless routers and personal firewalls. This makes their home networks secure. When your employees have sophisticated security and antivirus software, your VPN will be kept secure.
Use a Centralized Storage Solution
If your business relies on cloud or server storage, be sure that all of your employees are using it. If you suspect that your employees are unaware of or unfamiliar with your storage service, or that they are still storing files locally, contact them to ensure that they are aware of the centralized service.
If your firm is hacked and local data is lost, destroyed, or compromised, you’ll be more likely to have a backup of critical information. Important documents will also be safer with this strategy, as they will be safeguarded by the firewall tied to your centralized storage system.
- Ensure That Your Passwords Are Both Strong and Secure
Strengthening your passwords and ensuring that you have optimum password protection across all of your devices is one of the simplest yet frequently ignored ways to secure yourself when working from home.
It’s no surprise that the government advises employees and businesses to come up with strong unique passwords of at least 12 characters. When passwords are long and strong, they protect your information on apps and devices even when your computer is hacked. In light of this, passwords should be complex with lower-case and capital letters, symbols and numbers.
Adding a password screen to your laptop and other devices every time you access them will also go a long way in keeping information safe. If your computer is hacked or gets into the wrong hands, the third party will have a difficult time accessing your important files. To keep all of your passwords secure, try using a password management program.
Keep Your Online Banking Secure
If you’re in charge of a company’s finances, you need to make sure that money is stored and transferred in the safest possible method. The last thing you want is for one of your online banking systems to experience a security breach. To do so, here are some pointers:
• First and foremost, only accredited software and services should be used to manage cash.
Only use services that you are familiar with. If you’re not convinced about a platform’s legitimacy, look for reviews and further information online before utilizing it. Reputable institutions should contain customer care numbers that customers can contact if they have any problems. They should also be positively reviewed by different users.
• Make sure you’re using a Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol to access a banking website.
This indicates that the URL should begin with https:// rather than just http://.Most internet browsers will also display a lock to the left of the URL bar, indicating that the website has an authenticated security certificate.
• Tighten your passwords and add memorable information.
This makes it harder for people to access your finances. If possible you should also request your bank for a card reader to ensure that all online payments require a physical payment card. This will help make your business and personal bank accounts more secure. Several mobile banking platforms also demand you to check in with a confirmed fingerprint, which can increase security even more.
• Beware of Criminals
Scammers, phishers and hackers may try to contact you by phone, social media ads or email. They may ask for your bank account information claiming that they want to assist you with major purchases or donations. Give no one your bank account information or send funds to any unsolicited vendors unless you are certain they are who they claim to be!
Keep in mind that scammers may try to pass off as renowned professional organizations, clients and colleagues in order to deceive you into divulging critical information or transferring payments. Be cautious, and don’t be hesitant to ask for extra verification that someone is who they say they are.
Be Cautious of Scammer Email and Keep Your Email Security up to Date
Emails are necessary for communication among coworkers. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most easily exploited and compromised modes of communication. The National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) in the United Kingdom has issued several guidelines for protecting employees who work from home, including the usage of email.
They recommend the following precautions for protecting email accounts, in addition to bringing attention to phishing schemes, which are growing more common:
• Ensure that emails can only be viewed securely through your company’s VPN.
This establishes a secure network connection that authenticates the user and/or device while encrypting data in transit between the user and your services. Make sure your VPN is fully patched if you already use one.
• Built-in Encryption
When employees are out of the office or at home, they are more prone to have their equipment stolen (or lost). Ensure that their devices have built-in encryption that secures data even when their devices are not in use.
In case their devices are stolen, encryption keeps data secure. Although most current gadgets have built-in encryption, it may still be necessary to turn it on and configure it.
• Be on the lookout for phishing attacks
They will appear in any form since currently, there is an ever-increasing number in the forms they come in. Stay up to tabs with new scamming methods to recognize them from afar.
Beware of Zoom and Video Conferencing
Working from home frequently necessitates the use of videoconferencing software, which poses a risk to WFH security. For example, following a series of so-called “Zoom bombing” attacks in the past, Zoom was forced to address security issues.
Uninvited individuals could obtain access to another person’s video conference and use it to threaten and harass other users in these attacks. Although the name “Zoom bombing” refers to an incident that occurred on the Zoom app, similar incidents have occurred on other platforms.
If your video chats are invaded and observed, sensitive information about your business or clients may be disclosed, posing a risk to your firm. Hackers may also target your employees, resulting in personal and possibly traumatizing attacks.
In reaction to the Zoom bombings, some of the recommendations from the government to help people stay safe while using video conferencing software include:
• Install the latest patches and software updates to keep your software security up to date.
• By requiring a password or restricting visitor access from a waiting area, you can ensure that meetings remain private.
• When picking vendors, keep security in mind. End-to-end encryption is essential for privacy and security, so be sure any video conferencing software you use has it.
Keep Friends and Family Away From Work Devices
While you and your colleagues can keep yourself safe online, it’s worth remembering that working from home means company computers are more likely to be exposed to young children and other members of employees’ families.
Therefore, it’s important to remind staff to keep their devices safe and not allow other household members to access their work computers, tablets, phones, and other forms of hardware. It’s also worth reminding them of the importance of password protecting their devices to prevent third parties from accessing sensitive files.
Purchase a Sliding Webcam Cover
Working from home often entails participating in teleconferences and video chats, which necessitate the usage of your webcam. Unfortunately, unscrupulous hackers can simply gain access to your webcam without your permission, putting your privacy at risk.
Worse, if you have sensitive documents in your real workstation, hackers may be able to see them through your webcam. That said, if your webcam is detachable, you should unplug it whenever you’re not using it.
Sliding webcam covers come in a variety of colours, sizes and shapes, to meet your specific demands. They are easy to install since most come with an adhesive layer that fits around your webcam. Whenever you’re not using your webcam, cover it.
Moreover, employ features like “blur backdrop” if your videoconferencing software allows it. This keeps people from snooping around your background where they could come across sensitive client information.
Staff Security Tips for Working from Home
To summarize, remote workers can follow these guidelines as a checklist to guarantee that working from home is safe:
• Is your home’s Wi-Fi network secure?
• Do you make sure all of your software is up to date?
• Do you have antivirus and internet security software installed at home?
• Do you use a virtual private network (VPN)?
• Have you double-checked the strength and security of your passwords?
• Have you explored using an authenticator tool like Google Authenticator or Authy, or have you implemented two-factor authentication where appropriate?
• Are you aware of the risks of phishing schemes and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in emails you don’t recognize?
• Have you protected your gadgets by putting them out of reach of family members and enabling and configuring encryption?
• Have you turned on “Find my device” and remote wiping on all of your devices?
• Have you bought a webcam cover yet? Do you unplug your external webcam while it’s not in use?
• Are you running a supported operating system, and are you keeping it up to date?
• Do you take care not to overshare your screen during video conversations and are you aware of what’s going on in the background?
Employer Security Tips for Working from Home
These security guidelines can be used as a checklist by employers working from home:
• Do you have a policy in place for work from home security?
• Do you have a Bring Your Device (BYOD) policy in place?
• Do you give employees cyber security awareness training?
• Do you specifically train your employees to be aware of phishing attacks and how to prevent being a victim?
• Are you verifying that your employees use a VPN that is properly configured and up to date with security patches?
• Is the video teleconferencing platform you use for your employees secure, with end-to-end encryption?
• Do you use a centralized storage solution – such as secure cloud data storage – and urge employees to back up data regularly?
• Are company devices protected by antivirus software that has been approved by the company?
• Have you considered using a Password Manager to encourage staff to adopt strong and secure passwords?
• Do you think it’s a good idea to utilize two-factor authentication to verify credentials?
• Do you use encryption software to protect company data by preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing it?
• Do you advise employees to store and transmit personal data using business email solutions rather than personal email or messaging accounts?
As the number of people working from home increases all around the world, cybersecurity for remote workers has become a prominent concern. Individuals and organizations can minimize cybersecurity attacks and maintain safety by adopting cybersecurity remote work best practices. In light of this, these 10 key points and their checklists are a perfect guiding principle.