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6 cybersecurity tips for home workers during COVID-19
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6 cybersecurity tips for home workers during COVID-19

Claire Greathead

Written by Claire Greathead

2nd April 2020

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Cybercriminals feed off uncertainty, which means they have plenty of opportunity in today’s climate. So how can you ensure your data is safety during the coronavirus crisis? Here are our cybersecurity tips for home workers.

By now it has become clear that the spread of COVID-19 has caused fear, uncertainty and disorder around the world. While our primary concern as a nation – and as a global population – has to be health, we must also acknowledge that this turbulent time provides an environment in which cybercrime thrives.

As a direct consequence of the coronavirus, an unprecedented number of us now find ourselves working from home. Not only is this forcing businesses to rethink how they operate, it’s also making us all more vulnerable to hacking and data theft.

When you’re in an office, you’re most likely protected by network-wide security systems, but working remotely means operating without some of these protections, making you more vulnerable.

And cybercriminals are taking advantage of this vulnerability. While the intent of hackers hasn’t changed – their main motivation remains personal information and money – their messages have. Links to fake coronavirus websites, fake donation requests and fake emails from health companies are quickly making the rounds, so it’s more important than ever to be vigilant with your web use.

6 cybersecurity tips for home workers during the coronavirus outbreak

Make sure your connection is secure

Free or unknown Wi-Fi connections might be tempting, but they are also a risk. Some of these connections may be operated by cybercriminals who can easily steal information from users while they are on their network. You should avoid connecting to wireless networks you don’t recognise, especially those that advertise themselves as ‘FREE’ or those labelled as an unsecured computer-to-computer network.

Be wary of multiple channels

It’s not links and emails you should be wary of – cybercriminals are using a range of means to contact potential victims, including automated phone calls, texts and even mobile apps. Be sure to never give your personal information over to a source you don’t recognise or trust.

Take your information from the source

If you want updates on the spread of the virus, don’t rely on links you find online or in emails. Instead, go directly to websites run by trusted sources like Gov.UK, the World Health Organisation or the NHS. You can also look on websites run by nearby schools, communities and businesses to see how the virus is impacting your area specifically.

Share information and concerns with co-workers

During this time of isolation, communication is more important than ever. Just because you aren’t working in the same room as your co-workers every day, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay in touch. If you see any suspicious emails or sites, share your concerns with your company’s IT managers so they can alert others and stop the scam from going further. Always take care when forwarding on unknown links to ensure that colleagues aren’t at risk.

Communicate with your household

Communicating with your household is just as important as communicating with your colleagues when it comes to cybersecurity, especially if other family members are working from home at the same time. Talk through potential threats and how to handle them.

Change the default settings on home broadband routers

Changing the default settings on home broadband routers is a quick and relatively simple way to improve security for remote workers. Security vulnerabilities are discovered on a regular basis and without a little bit of tweaking, routers shipped by ISPs can carry flaws for a long period of time. Simple changes like changing the Wi-Fi network name (or SSID) and personalising the default admin passwords are an important starting point. After this, consider adjusting the Wi-Fi security level to utilise stronger encryption. It’s also a good idea to disable WPS because of its inherent security risks.

 

What else can you do?

As well as these measures, there are other steps you can take to ensure cybersecurity across your whole workforce. Install multi-factor authentication (MFA) protocols so that employees use more than one password to access corporate resources.

You can also send out direct links to trustworthy resources, so that team members don’t feel the need to surf the web in search of information. And be sure to keep sending regular emails about online security with helpful reminders and tips.

Don’t add cybersecurity to your list of current concerns. Get in touch with the team cyber security consultants here at SRM today by dropping us a message using our Live Chat function or calling 03450 212151.

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