Security awareness

Be cybersecure when working from home

March 18, 2020 by Kristin Zurovitch


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If you’re like many others, the COVID-19 outbreak has you suddenly working remotely. Keep these tips in mind to avoid an outbreak of malicious cyberattacks. 

The coronavirus outbreak is leading numerous organizations on a scramble to develop plans for staff to work remotely. Companies hoping to keep employees safe and stop the spread of the disease — while maintaining regular operations — have to look beyond simply sending staffers home with a laptop. Practicing good cybersecurity hygiene to prevent exposing the business to a cyberattack is as critically important in a home working environment as in the office.

Infosec, a leader in cybersecurity education and security awareness training, collected this set of tips to share with your colleagues and friends to stay cybersecure when working remotely:

Security awareness is the first order. All the security tools, strong passwords and remote worker precautions in the world won’t help unless you have a solid foundation in security awareness. Identifying phishing emails and avoiding clicking on malicious links may be your most important first step whether working from home or the office. Here are recent articles from the Articles & Research section of Infosec’s website:

Be safer with strong passwords. Don’t develop a false sense of security because you are comfortably snuggled up at home. Many people don’t practice the same strong password habits on their personal home devices as they do at the office. Add a strong password and two-factor authentication to your Wi-Fi and the router, plus any other personal devices.

Know what needs to be protected. Jot down a list of everything you don’t want falling into the wrong hands and determine a security arrangement for each. Paper notebooks and folders. Company phone. Company computer. Portable hard drives. USBs. Contact lists. Customer lists. You probably have more than you think. 

Using public Wi-Fi. Not recommended. Everybody should know the danger by now, yet 81% of recent survey respondents said they still use public Wi-Fi. If you are going to use the unsecured public network at your local coffee shop or library, think twice about exposing your company’s private information this way. 

Ramp up your security awareness. While browsing the web and checking your email, be on the lookout for a tidal wave of malicious sites and emails designed to play off your COVID-19 related anxiety.

Guard your login credentials. When working remotely — especially in public spaces — take care to guard your login credentials. If they are seen or shared accidentally, you’ve made tracking down illegal access very hard for the security team. 

Be a VIP with a VPN. Many companies have a VPN (virtual private network) as part of online protection packages for remote and traveling staff. For those not in the know, a VPN provides a secure, encrypted connection that tunnels data directly to its destination. If your company doesn’t have one, talk to your boss. VPNs for home use run between $5-$12 a month.

Be smart and ratchet up your security outlook. Keep your family and friends from using your work computer. Install an antivirus program in your home system. Get a copy of your company’s security policy and follow it. Lock up or shred confidential documents — don’t toss them in your home recycling bin. Don’t leave your laptop, documents or other devices in your car. Keep track of your smartphone. 

These common-sense steps will make you look like a security pro. Infosec has built a free Remote Working Awareness Kit full of posters and email templates designed to help you spread the word to your colleagues and teams. Good luck and stay safe!

Download Remote Working Awareness Kit

Posted: March 18, 2020
Articles Author
Kristin Zurovitch
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Director of Corporate Communications, InfoSec Institute