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Avoid Cyber Criminals and Protect your Data While Working from Home

Avoid Cyber Criminals and Protect your Data While Working from Home

Just picture this— you’re a new employee diligently working, and out of the blue, your CEO e-mails you, asking for 10 Amazon gift cards. She says it’s for an important project she’s working on and she needs the gift cards ASAP! The pressure is on and you take a break from your hectic to-do list, and begin ordering the gift cards, until you realize… the person emailing is not your boss after all, but rather, a sneaky cybercriminal. And just like that, you are the newest victim of a phishing scam. How mortifying, right? Well luckily, there are steps that can be taken in order to avoid such embarrassing catastrophes. 

With millions of people working from home, the IT landscape has become increasingly more complex and has opened the door for cybercriminals to wreak havoc on unsuspecting workers. In order to protect professional data while working on a personal network, employees should keep the following points in mind.
 

Understand the various types of cyber risks

It’s important to note that you do not have the same online protection at home as you would in an office. When you are working within a company’s protected network, there are corporate protective services in place to prevent unauthorized user access into that network. Unlike these traditional office setups, home offices do not have such services in place, leaving the home worker more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The most common type of cyber scams are social engineering campaigns. These aim to psychologically manipulate workers into making a security mistake or giving up sensitive information, and the most common form is phishing. Other forms of social engineering include baiting (the act of luring people to malicious websites and requesting they download a tainted file), scareware (fictitious threats claiming your computer is infected and action needs to be taken), and pretexting (establishing trust with victims to get them to give up their personal data).

In addition, ransomware attacks are the most profitable type of malware used by cybercriminals today. Ransomware is a malicious software designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. While it can be incredibly difficult to address once infected, it can be avoided on secure networks.

 

Take steps to help prevent cyberattacks

In order to protect personal and professional data, employees should start by securing their products physically. This can be done by locking all devices when they are not in use, blocking your camera when you are not collaborating via a video conference meeting, shutting your laptops down at the end of each workday and never leaving laptops unattended— not even in your personal vehicle for five minutes! In addition, employees should make sure they are not storing professional data on their personal devices. Just like office networks, work computers have layers of protections that personal devices do not.

Next, employees must also ensure their personal network is secured by following the below steps:
 

  • Never keep the suggested Wi-Fi password: Some may say the first rule of cybersecurity is to never use the default Wi-Fi password, because cybercriminals are smart, and will swoop in to steal data that is so easily decipherable. As such, it’s always best to come up with a password that is easy for you to remember but would be extremely difficult for a scammer to crack.
     
  • Disable remote management: Remember that if your device has remote management enabled, this opens the door for cybercriminals to change your device settings from a remote location, which is a scary prospect! So, protect yourself and disable this setting right away.
     
  • Make sure your software is up to date: Always make sure all of your devices are operating on the latest software available. Running older software can lead to higher vulnerability.
     
  • Protect against intruders: As a failsafe, it would be wise to install an anti-virus software to fight against unwanted intruders.

 

Consider investing in secure and reliable technology for remote workers

While the flexibility of hybrid work environments offer many advantages, they also present a unique set of technology needs. In order to keep up with the growing needs of the remote worker, complete work from home tech bundles are available to arm employees with reliable and secure technology to ensure they are able to work from anywhere. The optimal bundle should not only include all of the hardware and software needed to adequately work from home, but cybersecurity and remote monitoring features as well. 

By understanding and following all of the steps outlined above, you will reduce the risk of a cyberattack significantly. Always have your eyes and ears open, and enjoy your safe and protected home office!

 

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