91% of people are well-aware of the danger that comes with password recycling. Despite this, 59% still use the same password on different platforms, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Once a hacker successfully guesses your password, it becomes easy for them to take over all of your accounts. The key to protecting your company from such incidents is implementing comprehensive cybersecurity policies.
As the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be far from over, more and more businesses are now transitioning to remote work. However, the rapidly growing number of organisations deploying remote systems to support their employees working from home has resulted in different security vulnerabilities. Given the lack of physical security at home, the threat of remote workers’ devices being infected with malware and the risk of cybercriminals accessing sensitive data has increased.
If you are a remote worker, what do you think you can do to increase cybersecurity for remote workers? Here’s a list of six effective cybersecurity practices to keep your devices and date safe from cybercriminals.
1. Separate work and personal devices
It is important to set boundaries between your personal and work life especially if you’re working from home. If you have been provided a work computer, make sure to use it exclusively for work purposes. While constantly changing devices to pay bills, shop online and submit emails for work may seem like a time-consuming task, doing so can keep your data from being stolen. Using your personal laptop for work tasks can jeopardise sensitive business data as home laptops typically lack proper security.
2. Use multi-factor authentication
The more barriers you have in place, the harder it will be for cybercriminals to hack your account. Multi-factor authentication or simply MFA, for instance, adds another layer of security to your online account such as your bank account, electronic device or computer network. Instead of just asking for the username and password, MFA requires one or more additional verification factors to gain access to a source.
Most MFA authentication methodologies are based on three methods: things you know (password or PIN), things you have (a smartphone or a security token) and the things you are (fingerprint or voice recognition).
3. Learn to detect email scams
Email is one of the most essential communication mediums between colleagues especially for employees who are working remotely. However, email has also become the most appealing attack vector for phishing scams. Once successful, a phishing attack could grant cybercriminals access to valuable data which can result in a data breach.
As a remote worker, the best thing you can do to avoid phishing scams is to learn about them. Look out for the following signs:
- Inconsistencies in email addresses and domain names
One of the most common ways to identify a phishing email is by looking at the email address and the domain name. Check the sender’s email address by hovering your mouse over to the ‘from’ address. Make sure there are no alterations such as additional numbers or letters on the email address. Another thing to look at is the domain name. Legitimate companies have domain emails. They do not use public domains such as @yahoo.com or @gmail.com.
- Unusual request
Most legitimate organisations do not ask for sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card details to be sent over the internet. So if you receive an email from a sender requesting such critical data, that should raise a red flag immediately. When in doubt, contact the company directly through their company number.
- Suspicious attachments
Real companies do not usually send unsolicited attachments. In most cases, they send an email directing you to their website where you can download documents or files.
If you receive an email with an attached file from an unknown sender, look at its file type. High-risk file types such as .exe., .scr., and .zip. must be opened with caution.
- Misspelling or grammar errors
Another most common signs of phishing emails are misspelling and grammar errors. Legitimate companies value their reputation the most. They use a spell check feature for outbound emails to make sure all messages are written well. Therefore, recipients can expect that emails originating from a legitimate organisation would be free from grammar and spelling errors.
- Sense of urgency
Emails that use threats or a sense of urgency should be treated with suspicion. Criminals like to invoke panic because they know people are prone to make rash decisions. This strategy is effective as it encourages victims to think irrationally and act as soon as possible.
4. Turn on VPN
You might be probably accessing your employer’s network through a Virtual Private Network or VPN. A VPN is designed to secure information transmitted between employers and remote employees through data encryption. If you’re using a VPN, do not turn it off while you are working. Keeping it on can help secure your network from cybercriminals who might intercept sensitive data such as financial documents.
The number of successful cyber attacks is rapidly increasing. To safeguard your company’s networks and devices against cybercriminals, following the basic tips above can be of great help. Additionally, investing in a comprehensive end-to-end cyber defence can further bolster the security your company needs.
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