Working Remotely? Watch Out For These 5 Common Cyber Security Mistakes, by Elizabeth B. Hines
For some, long gone are the days of the long commutes to and from work, the rush hour packed trains and traffic jams, and the sad office lunches reheated in the microwave whilst making small talk. Working from home is the new “it”, and it seems like everyone is doing it. If it was an attractive possibility before, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, working from home is now simply a must for some positions.
Working from home does have many perks, but unfortunately it also comes with some disadvantages. Cyber security may not be the first thing on your list of concerns, but working from your personal WiFi and laptop may leave you vulnerable to certain cyber risks. Read on to find out what they are and how to avoid them!
1. Phishing scams
Phishing emails are nothing new, but these kinds of scams are becoming more and more elaborate, and unfortunately more convincing too. Be particularly careful about clicking links or downloading files onto your laptop. If you also have sensitive work data stored in it, it could lead to a major security breach, and it could go undetected for quite some time.
2. Using weak passwords
As annoying as it may be to add numbers and characters and upper and lower cases to your passwords, it is paramount for your safety and the safety of your information. If you struggle to come up with memorable passwords or remember them all together, use a personal password manager tool, where you can store hundreds of passwords safely. It’s also useful to use the two factor authentication features some platforms offer, as this is a great extra layer of security with minimal inconvenience.
3. Taking risky security policy workarounds
Security policies can at times be burdensome, and almost everyone is guilty of breaching certain protocols every once and a while, to save some time and energy and be more effective at work. Although well intentioned, these workarounds could cost you a lot in the long run. Sending company documents and information on personal email, sharing passwords, and even installing unverified apps could all lead to major security breaches. A very common workaround is saving your passwords into your browser. Even if this feels harmless and is very convenient, the first place potential hackers would look to extract information is your browser. Remember security protocols are in place for a reason, and they’ll save you more than one sleepless night down the line!
4. Sharing devices with your family
If you can avoid sharing your work device with your family, it is advisable that you do. Unfortunately, sometimes when other people are using your device they may click on links or make downloads that could be very damaging in terms of a security breach. Children using your computer could accidentally share information and even other adults are easily convinced by certain ads and other enticing content scammers put out there.
Taking it a step further, if you’re able to, avoid using the same WiFi network that is used at home by your family members or roommates. Having a separate network essentially builds a firewall between your device and the devices others are using in your same household, so you won’t be targeted even if someone in your family has clicked a dodgy link.
5. Ignoring common symptoms of a cyber attack
Sometimes the symptoms of a cyber attack are subtle and might take a while to spot, but more commonly, if your laptop has a virus or has been hacked, it will show very clear symptoms that something isn’t quite right. Don’t ignore these symptoms as the sooner the problem is tackled the better. Your laptop may start lagging for no apparent reason or slowing down considerably. Other common symptoms are losing control of your mouse, pop ups coming from nowhere, or files downloading onto your computer without you actioning the download.
Whilst working from home has mostly perks, it’s very important to stay mindful that cyber security is a priority for all companies, so keeping an eye out and taking the necessary precautions to avoid a security breach will save you and your bosses quite a few headaches in the long run.
Elizabeth Hines writes articles at Top Canadian Writers about the latest tech in marketing trends, innovations and strategies. She’s a digital marketer and content writer.