Working From Home? Learn How to Reinforce Your Remote Work Security

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of American employees said they worked from home either most or all of the time. But after it hit, that number increased to 71%.

Are you one of those people who have brought your work home due to the pandemic? Then you need to keep up with remote work security.

After all, cybercriminals aren’t going to stop their malicious attacks. In fact, so many people working from home gives them ample opportunity to strike.

To fend off these attacks, here are some ways you can reinforce your online security so your data stays safe.

Use Robust Antivirus Software

If you’re online for any reason, whether it’s for leisure or business, you should always have a robust antivirus program enabled. Don’t just go for the free programs, because chances are, they won’t be the best ones around.

Investing a little time and money into researching and purchasing the best antivirus software will definitely pay off. It’ll be able to block hacking attempts or any malware you’ve accidentally downloaded.

Keep All Programs Updated

At its very core, hackers are constantly playing cat and mouse with developers. Cybercriminals are always looking for vulnerabilities in programs while developers are working hard to discover these first and patch them up. In the worst-case scenario, they’re developing updates to fix those vulnerabilities after they’ve already been discovered by the fraudsters.

So when that popup comes up saying you need to update a program, don’t just ignore it. It’s in your best interest to install it right away.

Don’t just rely on those popups either. Often, you’ll have to go into your programs to check if there’s anything that’s fallen behind.

For example, you might need to force a Windows 10 update. Not only will updating keep things more secure, but it can also help things run smoother as well.

Use Strong Passwords

We get it: using the name of the street you live on or your favorite pet makes it so easy to remember your password. But if it’s easy for you, then it’s easy for cybercriminals too.

The fact is, passwords that have dictionary words are simple to guess. Plus, you probably have some personal information out there that you think is innocuous.

For instance, you might have a public profile picture on Facebook that shows your dog, and you’ve labeled it “my baby, Snowball.” Or maybe you have your birthday set as public information.

Hackers can then take this information and try it out as passwords for your accounts. And if they’re lucky (in many cases, they are), they’ll hit the jackpot.

The best passwords are those that are randomly generated. There are plenty of reputable and encrypted password managers that not only generate these strong passwords, but also store them for you. That way, you don’t need to remember them; the fields will automatically generate the account name and password when you load the page.

A good rule of thumb is to also use different passwords for each account. That way, if the cybercriminal manages to break through one account, they won’t be able to do so with your others.

Again, a password manager can help here. Generate different passwords for each account and save them in the app for easy access.

Turn on Multifactor Authentication

Using strong passwords simply isn’t enough to keep hackers at bay. After all, it’s just 1 layer between your data being secure and a cybercriminal accessing it. If they get super lucky, they can guess your password and get into your account.

To put more layers between you and fraudsters, turn on multifactor authentication for your programs and apps if it’s available. In most cases, it’ll be 2-factor authentication (2FA). You might already be familiar with this!

What happens is you’ll enter your password for your account. If you’re right, you’re not in just yet.

Often, you’ll receive a code in either your email or text message inbox. You’ll have a limited time to enter the code (such as 5 minutes) before it expires and you have to get a new one.

So even if a cybercriminal manages to get their hands on your password, they won’t be able to get in, simply because they don’t have access to your email or phone.

Don’t Use Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Let’s say you have an opportunity to get out of the house to work for a little bit. You head to your favorite cafe, order a coffee, and sit down to work. You notice that they don’t have a secured wi-fi network to use, but that’s ok, as there’s an unsecured one on the list.

However, this can leave you open to cyberattacks. Never use unsecured wi-fi networks, no matter how desperate you are. Resort to tethering to your phone’s network instead.

Recognize Phishing Attempts

One of the major ways that cybercriminals are penetrating people’s networks is through phishing. This is where they don’t directly hack into your computer, but instead, trick you into giving them sensitive data.

Phishing attempts are carried out by the fraudster creating fake emails and websites. So always be on the lookout for these, especially if you get random emails that ask you to download files and/or click on links.

The best way to avoid falling victim to phishing attempts is to type in everything yourself and to verify file downloads with the supposed sender.

Up Your Remote Work Security to Protect Your Data

Now you have several things you can do to upgrade your remote work security.

The most important thing is you have to keep up with it. Again, hackers are always looking for ways into your network, so you have to remain vigilant.

Don’t give them any opportunities to strike. By keeping up with your cybersecurity, you’ll make it much harder for these fraudsters and you’ll take the target off your back.

For more information about IT security, take a look at our blog articles now.

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