Working from home has been gaining steam for years around the world. In 2019, about 4.7 million Americans – about 3.4% of the population was working at home, That’s a 159% increase over the number in 2015. That number has exploded during the novel coronavirus pandemic to about 25% of all Americans working at home.
Those numbers are being reflected all over the world and it’s giving a lot of companies and organizations pause to consider the cybersecurity implications involved. People might be savvy enough to make sales on their couches, design graphics in their pajamas, and broker deals while also homeschooling the kids, but that does not mean they know the first thing about cybersecurity and how to protect themselves, their devices, and their company assets while working remotely.
Over the years, most security companies have realized that the biggest problem with data breaches and the like are user errors – people making unintentional mistakes that allow hackers in or let data out of the organization. Companies like Bitdefender have simplified their dashboards to help new users understand how to specifically use their protection effectively.
This guide will help your employees minimize these mistakes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t Go Phishing
Phishing is the clever way that cybercriminals lure you into giving up your login credentials to certain websites by pretending to be sending you emails, texts, or social media messages from legitimate sources. They often come as links in an email or attachments in the same vein. If you visit one of these websites, you might get coerced into entering credentials for a legitimate account or you might have some sort of malware injected into your machine that can have any number of purposes including stealing credentials or installing spyware. Make sure you confirm all links you get with the sources if they seem suspicious. Always err on the side of caution in these instances.
Use a VPN
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are the great equalizers when you don’t have the power of a corporate-strong firewall at your service. They work by covering your IP address with one chosen from a random location – either in your own country or in a different country depending on your needs. From there, all of your information that gets uploaded to the Internet in the form of page requests and uploads is encrypted so that nobody watching your connection can see what you are doing or where you are going. It works both ways. When you download information, it is encrypted by the VPN and cannot be decrypted until it reaches your computer.
Separate Your Home and Work-Life
You have to keep home and work separate from each other at all times when working from home, especially on the computer. Taking shortcuts like sending work emails from your home computer or paying your bills on a work-issued laptop is asking for trouble when one of the others gets compromised. Imagine if spyware is installed on your work computer and you use it to check your bank account and pay a few bills. Suddenly the hackers are not just swiping company data, they’re grabbing links and logins to your debit and credit card accounts as well.