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Safe at Home: Cybersecurity Safety Tips for Those Working From Home

Safe at Home: Cybersecurity Safety Tips for Those Working From Home
By Candice Y. Farha of the Penner Lowe Law Group, LLC

Many Americans have transitioned their everyday work lives from the office to the living room amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Workers have adapted to the new pace of the workday, the rhythm of Zoom meetings, the pains of working while homeschooling young ones, and the joys of the sporadic Tiger King break. While working from home is a great way to keep yourself and the community safe, it also gives cyber threat actors new avenues they can exploit in their never-ending quest to steal your data. In this article, we explore useful and practical tips for staying safe online, while staying safe at home.

Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Most of the people working from home will be using secured networks.  However, there will be some individuals using unsecured networks to access work documents and send work e-mails.  Unsecured networks are prime real estate for cyber criminals.  They allow nearby malicious actors to spy on the connection and steal sensitive data.  Avoid unsecured network and use VPNs whenever possible.

Scams Targeting Stay-At-Home Workers

Scammers are adept at taking advantage of current events to exploit others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in scams targeting people looking for work-from-home opportunities.  Additionally, there has been an increase in phishing e-mails targeting employees currently working from home that may be less attentive in identifying scam e-mails during the confusion of this transition.  For these reasons, it is of the utmost importance that workers stay vigilant about e-mail security and always verify that a correspondence is legitimate before engaging the sender or accessing a link.

Using Personal Devices

While the use of a personal device alone does not cause a security threat, there are some risks associated with allowing the use of such devices.  Mainly, an organization stays on top of security and software updates with its own devices.  An employee, however, may fall behind with regard to their software updates, causing vulnerabilities in their systems. 

Video Conferencing Security

We have seen many video conferences interrupted by an uninvited guest recently.  While these uninvited guests can be pests and interrupt the flow of meetings, they can also be dangerous.  Intruders can lurk in your conference and collect information, causing many security headaches.  If you plan on using a video conferencing platform, it is incredibly important that you configure the security setting of that platform before the meeting.

Here are a few things to do with regard to video conferences that can help keep you safe:

  1. Use the waiting room feature (this allows you to “admit” people to the meeting that are appropriate);
  2. Make sure password protection is enabled (and make sure your password is random);
  3. Don’t share the conference link on social media or somewhere similarly public (send the link directly to the participants); and,
  4. Lock your meeting once all the participants have joined.

What Else Can You Do To Stay Safe?

Below are some additional tips to keep safe while working from home. 

  1. Make sure your passwords are secure, random, and strong.
  2. Use a VPN.
  3. Back up your data regularly.
  4. Use two-factor authentication.
  5. Install updates regularly.
  6. Secure your home network
  7. Look out for phishing e-mails and scams.
  8. Use encrypted communications.
  9. Lock your devices when not in use.

 

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