10 Cybersecurity Tips for Employees Working Remotely

DZone 's Guide to

10 Cybersecurity Tips for Employees Working Remotely

With work-from-home becoming the new norm, employees must do everything they can to stay secure when working remotely.

· Security Zone ·
Free Resource

The novel coronavirus has forced companies around the world to make work-from-home mandatory for the foreseeable future. Employees are being asked to practice social distancing by working remotely to keep them safe as well as prevent the spread of the deadly disease.

Today’s technology makes it easier than ever for individuals to do their work from the comfort of their homes. However, as with everything else, working remotely comes with certain downfalls, particularly from a security perspective. 

Remote workers can suffer breaches, and ultimately, leave a company’s information at the mercy of cybercriminals. Fret not, though! In this article, we’ll take a look at security precautions that employees can take to protect themselves while remote working.

Common Risks of Remote Working

The following are a few security threats remote workers should know about:  

Unprotected Wi-Fi Networks

You shouldn’t work from home without securing your Wi-Fi network properly. Similarly, suppose lockdown restrictions have been eased in your country, and you’re working on public Wi-Fi. In that case, you need to take the necessary safety measures as these hotspots are breeding grounds for hackers looking to steal your data.

Insecure Personal Devices

Employees may have to utilize their devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) to conduct daily tasks. These usually aren’t equipped with must-have tools such as a firewall and antivirus software. Therefore, there’s a high risk of malware sneaking its way into such devices.

Phishing Scams

As companies adapt to the drastic changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, bad actors have resorted to phishing attacks to take advantage of the situation for their benefit.

Tips for Secure Remote Working 

With that out of the way, here are some safety measures to protect yourself and your work devices at home from security threats:

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Always use solid passwords for all your work accounts. Setting the same password across multiple accounts might seem like a good idea, but it’s far from that. Why? Because if one account gets compromised, breaking into the others wouldn’t take much of an effort.

Your passwords must comprise a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, special characters, and numbers. One effective way to create and store complex passwords is to use password managers like LastPass.

Communicate Through Secure Channels

You need to use secure channels of communication when collaborating with your colleagues. After all, you wouldn’t the bad guys intercept your conversations and walk away with sensitive corporate data. 

Many messaging services offer end-to-end encryption like Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp. As for email, there are many encrypted providers at your disposal, such as Tutanota, SendInc, and Hushmail.

Connect to a VPN

By arming yourself with a VPN, you can improve your online security and privacy considerations. The tool encrypts your Internet traffic using robust algorithms, which makes it indecipherable to anybody who manages to intercept it. 

This allows you to keep cybercriminals at bay so that you can work from home with complete peace of mind. We’d recommend choosing OpenVPN as your protocol as it provides the best blend of speed and security.

Set Up a Firewall

A firewall acts as a protective barrier between your system and another network like the Internet. It prevents threats from entering your device and leaking sensitive information. Your OS typically has a firewall built-in, don’t forget to check if it’s enabled. You can also install a third-party firewall for extra protection. 

Backup Important Data 

The data stored on your devices can be lost due to a cyberattack, human error, etc. Due to this, you need to ensure that all critical data is backed up regularly. The easiest and most effective way to go about this is by saving your information on the cloud. Many cloud backup services allow users to personalize their storage options and the backup schedule. 

Install an Antivirus Solution

Use a reliable antivirus program to form the next line of defense that identifies and removes known malware. So, if malware bypasses the firewall, your antivirus software will detect and block it before any damage is done. Some good antivirus options include McAfee, Bitdefender, and Norton, to name a few.

Protect Your Home Network

If you want to protect your home network from hackers, you have to take steps to secure it. First of all, change your Wi-Fi password by delving into the router’s settings. Then, enable WPA2 or WPA3 encryption to secure wireless connections. It’s also advised that you disable WPS.

Update All Software Regularly 

It’s imperative to update your device’s operating system and other software on a timely basis. Updates often come with fixes for security loopholes discovered since the last released version of the software. If you don’t want to install these updates manually, you can always set them to run automatically.

Be Wary of Phishing Scams

As mentioned earlier, phishing is on the rise since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The recent Twitter “spear phishing attack” goes to show the lengths cybercriminals will go for their gains. You can avoid falling victim to phishing scams by making sure to:

  • Check the email address of the sender for minor errors.

  • Never click on attachments or links until you’re certain about the sender.

  • Verify the credibility of a website before entering any private information (phishing sites generally lack the HTTPS symbol in the web address).

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Make sure to set up 2FA were available for your work accounts. It adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts by including an additional factor to verify your identities such as a one-time passcode or biometric verification. 

coronavirus, cybersecuity, remote worker, security, work from home

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

{{ parent.title || parent.header.title}}

{{ parent.tldr }}

{{ parent.urlSource.name }}