In the world of AI, remote work, and digital everything, it’s more important than ever to stay secure. But working at home, you don’t have the power of an in-house IT team (unless you work in IT, obviously)…so here are a few tips to stay cyber-secure when you work from home.
Use Your Strengths
Okay, maybe not YOUR strengths…but strong passwords and multi-factor authentication. To ensure maximum security, passwords should be at least 12 characters long, and unique for each account you have. No repeats! And pro tip: change the password on your Wi-Fi router once you get it set up. Multi-factor authentication is exactly what it sounds like—it’s taking 2 steps to log into any given account so the system can ensure it’s YOU. Instead of it being something you know, it’s typically something you have, like a digital token or an app on your phone. It ultimately stops hackers from gaining access to your account because, even if they hack through your password, they will be unable to make it through the second step. This is a sure way to keep your information secure!
Get yourself (or a company-issued) virtual private network (VPN). VPNs essentially help you stay hidden from public servers, hackers, etc—they encrypt your network connection and hide your IP address, which enables you to hide your identity and your location. It essentially blocks anyone—your internet service provider, the government, hackers—from spying on you or determining your online activity.
Keeping your device softwares up to date is one way to keep yourself secure! Software updates usually contain important bug fixes and security updates that help decrease your vulnerability. Updates can patch any security gaps, which block any open doors in the software and, ultimately, keep hackers from planting malware (malicious software) onto your devices. One way to ensure your devices are always up to date and protected is to enable automatic updates. Then the pressure isn’t on you to remember when those updates need to happen—your device will do it for you!
Don’t Go Phishing
That’s right, phishing. To put it simply, this is when hackers and other malicious actors send fraudulent communication in an attempt to plant malware on your devices, gain access to your sensitive information, and sometimes damage your financial security. The tricky thing with phishing attacks is that the communication often looks as though it’s coming from a legitimate source. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from falling prey to phishing attempts:
- Never provide personal information over the phone, over text, or via email from an unsolicited request.
- If you’re unsure whether or not the request is legitimate, contact the company yourself! They will be able to tell you if there’s truly an issue with your account or information.
- Review your account information and financial statements regularly! And if you see any abnormal charges, contact the company immediately to get it sorted out.
If you do fall victim to a phishing scam—especially if it involves finances—contact your financial institution as soon as possible to make them aware of what’s going on and pause your accounts and cards.
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.
Cyber crime is ever-present, and sometimes unavoidable. But you don’t have to fall prey to it, even when you work remotely! It’s important to be proactive in taking security measures to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime. Keep your passwords strong, your location hidden (aka get a VPN), your software updated, and pay attention to phishing scams. It’s absolutely possible to protect yourself from cyber crime, you just have to stay vigilant.