Many are beginning to work from home for the first time as we all try to do our part to limit the impact of COVID-19. Remote working comes with its own set of challenges, from having the right technology and security, to managing your day, to feeling connected to your team and customers. We’ve pulled together this list of 7 Cybersecurity Tips for Working from Home as we continue our mission to help the small business community with educational resources and support.
1. Be on the lookout for phishing emails
Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation and are crafting emails to target remote workers to steal their personal information or gain access to business email accounts. Understand the signs of a phishing email (bad grammar, unknown sender email address, etc.) Don’t click on any links in emails without verifying the link address first. Don’t provide any of your personal information or login credentials in response to any email requesting it.
2. Use encrypted communication
There may be times where you need to send sensitive information to your coworkers. If your company doesn’t provide you with a secure method for sending sensitive information, use an application that utilizes end-to-end encryption, such as Telegram or WhatsApp.
3. Be cautious when using remote desktop tools
Many employers will allow employees to connect to their work network using a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). While RDP can be secure, be aware that there are some security problems with common RDP tools for Windows and Linux. If you are given the option to choose your RDP service, select from one of these recommended RDP tools, many of which offer a free trial.
4. Use a VPN when connecting to your work network
VPNs provide a secure tunnel for the information to pass between your device on your home network to your work network. It is especially important to use a VPN when accessing any of your organizations file servers to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of your data.
5. Ensure your home network isn’t an easy target
Verify your anti-virus software is running and is updated to include the newest malware signatures. Secure your home internet with a firewall to prevent any unwanted connections. Install any patches and make sure your systems are up to date. Strengthen your passwords and always use multi-factor authentication (MFA) when available.
6. Make sure your WiFi network is secure
Taking the extra time to change the default SSID and password on your Wifi network is a small step that goes a long way to being securing from hackers. Regularly update your router to address security vulnerabilities in the firmware.
7. Consider moving your work devices to a separate subnetwork
It’s likely other members of your family are also being forced to remain at home, and they could be spending their time browsing the internet. During this time, they may be more susceptible to accidentally downloading a virus that can infect the entire network you are now trying to work on. Take inventory of the devices you use for work, and create a separate virtual network so that you are not on the same network as the rest of your family. Many routers offer the option to create these virtual networks. This is a more technical step, but is a great option for keeping your work traffic separate from the rest of your home’s traffic. A sample tutorial on how to do this can be found here.
COVID-19 has introduced us to situations many of us are navigating for the very first time. We’re changing the way we work to be responsible world citizens. Check out our complete recommended list of cybersecurity best practices for more information on protecting yourself online. Many companies are offering free resources to help make a smoother transition to remote work. Our friends at AwareGO have decided to meet the needs of companies who are enabling their employees to working remotely by offering this free ‘Working from Home’ training course on their eLearning platform.
We’re in this together, and we will get through this with each other’s support. Stay safe friends, in the real world and in the virtual world. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we are happy to help.