COVID-19, like technology, has significantly disrupted several sectors, with the notable one being the workplace. It has not only heralded mass layoffs but has also changed how and where we work. Increasingly, companies have adopted work-from-home policies in response to the pandemic
Going by the statistics of new infections coupled with the lack of a vaccine, it is clear that the disruptions will continue for an indefinite period. Also, workers will continue to work from home for a long time, with other companies envisaged to embrace the trend even during the post-COVID period.
While working from home provides more flexibility and spares workers the boring commute to work, it poses many challenges, including challenges of productivity, maintaining focus, and other temptations that may arise. But the most notable threat from the new norm is the risk of cybercrime.
In this article, we will review ten tips to protect you from cybercrime.
1. Use Unique and Strong Passwords
Passwords are your first line of defence against any cyber attack. They must be strong and unique. Use a different password for each device, especially those that contain personal and credit card information. Avoid using the same passphrase for multiple accounts, as this will overexpose you if the device is compromised. Additionally change passwords on a routine basis.VPN
2. Be Wary of Scams
It is during crisis periods that cybercriminals spot an opportunity to strike. Therefore, as businesses transition to remote working, they must ensure that employees are insulated from cyber threats. Specifically, during the COVID-19 period, scammers are likely to use phishing emails to obtain critical information from internet users and use it for monetary gain.
As you work from home, always exercise due diligence whenever you receive emails. Take caution before you open any attachment or click on any link from unknown senders. If you get any request for personal details, exercise judgment, especially when there is a sense of urgency.
3. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPNs are a popular connection between employees and their workplace, providing access to work tools. They secure your remote work access and internet activity while offering protection against phishing and malware attacks.
VPNs work by encrypting all traffic leaving your devices until it gets its destination. So, in the unfortunate event that cybercriminals compromise your communication line, they can only access encrypted data, which they can’t decipher. So, when working from home, whether at the library, hotel, or airport, always use a VPN. You can go with any of the corporate level VPN such as Express VPN, Nord VPN, Switcherry VPN, or Hotspot shield.
But If you ask, which one would be suitable for your daily use out these four? Well, it depends on your purpose. If you are looking for a VPN that provides a reliable and fast connection that doesn’t serve you irritating ad rolls, neither restrict you on daily, weekly or monthly traffic, then Switcherry would be one of the options for you. Recently it is grabbing good popularity among iOS users. Nevertheless, you can still look into the infographics below before you decide to choose the best one.
4. Keep Your Software Updated
Always install updates and patches on your internet security software and operating systems on time. Hackers are a smart lot, and they use any flaws in your software to intrude and compromise your internet security. Patching the flaws reduces the likelihood of your computer or device being hacked.
5. Secure Your Wi-Fi Access Point
Your home router is an essential gadget because it monitors all incoming and outgoing internet traffic. It is the sentry of your entire home Wi-Fi network and, by extension, all your devices. If someone accesses that network, your devices can be compromised.
Bearing that in mind, it is mandatory to ensure that your router is secure. Typically, you should be using the WPA2 configuration that requires any new device to submit a password before connection Wi-Fi. In most cases, this is something enabled by default, and if it isn’t, activate it.
Always change your default settings and passwords to reduce the impact of a potential attack via the connected devices. Yes, this may mean that you have to reconnect the devices again, but it serves the function of barring any intruders piggybacking on your internet.
6. Demarcate Personal Engagements and Work
It is advisable to delineate your personal from work. Specifically, have personal devices to be used specifically for non-office related engagements. And when it comes to office-related functions, use only office-related tools.
In the same vein, keep your personal information minimal. With only limited data points, cybercriminals can easily access your personal information. So the less you share, the safer are from hackers.
7. Use Trusted Wi-Fi
Desist from any attempt to use free Wi-Fi. No matter how alluring it is, free Wi-Fi can put your information at risk because cybercriminals use it to steal critical data. Moreover, the malicious actors establish fake Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces and use them to steal banking details and other valuable information. Importantly, when working remotely, only use trusted connections, preferably from your telecommunications provider.
8. Secure Your Devices When Idle
Always consider who access your devices whenever you are not using the, accessing your personal information is pretty easy if third parties get hold of your devices. If you are not using your computer, keep it locked, even if it is for a short duration. Avoid sharing your work laptop with anyone; including your children. They could unintentionally introduce malicious software into your device.
9. Limit the Use of Portable Storage Devices
Due to their worth and size, portable devices are very susceptible to theft. They store very critical data that isn’t encrypted, especially if they are the standard office USB sticks. Cybercriminals know the worth of data contained in these devices and are always creating malware to be used, especially in smartphones.
Due to the risks inherent in portable devices, it is advisable to transfer files in more secure ways than using USBs. If you have to use the portable device, ensure that they are encrypted to prevent data loss at the hands of hackers.
10. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Most websites nowadays require web users to enter strong passwords before accessing them and type code from a message or app. The process is referred to as multi-factor authentication. Although it is not a perfect security measure, it inhibits cybercriminals from intruding into your account.
To stay safe online, use multi-factor authentication for critical log-ins like credit card accounts. Additionally, you can bolster your online security by getting a physical, digital key that is linked with your Smartphone.