Not that long ago, working from home was a luxury. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become somewhat of a necessity.
Recent research shows that 71% of Americans are now working remotely. What’s more, over half of them say they’d prefer to keep working from home after the pandemic ends. It stands to reason that this will have a big impact on the future of remote work.
One big issue with this approach is the work from home cybersecurity risk. For most employees, this is the main challenge presented by remote work. These concerns are well-founded—cyberattacks have become a huge threat during the pandemic.
The good news: there are plenty of ways to shore up your cybersecurity. Here are seven effective tips you should consider.
1. Keep Devices Separate
Do you use your home laptop for work-related tasks? If so, there’s a decent chance you’re jeopardizing sensitive business data.
See, our personal devices have always been a juicy target for cybercriminals. Most home laptops lack the proper security, putting them at risk. With more and more people working from home, these devices now have an even bigger target on their back.
Keeping your devices separate is a great way to improve your home-related cybersecurity. For example, you could pay bills on your laptop, work on your employer-provided device, and stick to watching Netflix on your tablet or TV.
On a similar note, do your best to keep family members away from your work devices. Young children can find it hard to understand that a company computer isn’t meant for fun. If this becomes an issue, use passwords to protect your devices.
2. Invest in Antivirus Software
These days, a cyberattack can mean a lot of things. It can include DDoS attacks, ransomware attacks, spyware, malware, and so on.
The best way to protect yourself from all these types of threats is to use antivirus software. A good antivirus also offers protection from zero-day attacks. These attacks involve using viruses that take advantage of security flaws before they get patched.
On top of offering comprehensive protection, antivirus software is discreet. It runs in the background of your other operations, so you’re unlikely to notice it. Plus, an antivirus will update by itself, allowing you to stay on top of emerging threats.
3. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Another way to improve your cybersecurity for working from home is to strengthen your Wi-Fi network.
The first thing you can do is create a unique, strong password. Type 192.168.1.1 to go to your router settings page and enter your username. Then, choose a new password that includes numbers, lower-case, and higher-case letters.
While you’re messing with your router settings, consider changing the SSID as well. This is the name of your network, and hackers can use it to identify you. Go for a name that’s cryptic, hard to guess, and contains no personal details.
If you’re using a VPN, don’t forget to turn it off when you don’t need it. Also, consider enhancing your encryption methods for VPN access. For instance, if you’re using a PPTP protocol, you should switch to L2TP or OpenVPN.
Finally, make sure that your wireless network is up to date. Oftentimes, your network provider will release patches that contain security updates. Visit your router settings from time to time to confirm that you’re on the latest firmware.
4. Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are among the most common cyberattacks at the moment. They’re executed by flooding your inbox with scam emails.
Most phishing emails appear to come from a trusted organization, making them hard to spot. The email often includes an attachment or a link that you’re supposed to click on. Once you do, the click may unleash malware onto your device.
Experts say that many phishing scams relate to the pandemic. This makes sense, as people remain curious about pandemic-related topics. The only real prevention is to be wary of any emails that include links or attachments to click on.
5. Get a Sliding Webcam Cover
While working from home, you’re far more likely to take part in teleconferences. To do that, you’ll need a webcam.
Unfortunately, a skilled hacker can take advantage of this by accessing your webcam. This compromises the sensitive documents that may be lying around your workplace. If your camera is separate from your computer, unplug it whenever you’re not using it.
Now, what do you do when your laptop has a built-in camera? In this situation, your best option is to invest in a sliding webcam cover. They work great as a security measure, and they’re easy to install and come in all shapes and sizes.
Your videoconferencing software may play a part in your protection as well. For example, many platforms have a “blur background” feature. As the name implies, this option prevents people from spying on things in your background.
6. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication adds a whole new layer of security to your online accounts. This is why most good cybersecurity services insist on it.
This security method involves two ways of verifying someone’s identity before they can log into their account. The first authentication factor is usually a password or passcode. The second factor tends to be either a security token or biometric identification.
If you’re not very tech-savvy, 2FA is the best way to protect your sensitive data. This method stops hackers in their tracks, as most attacks come from remote internet connections. This extra safeguard also takes some of the burden off the IT team.
More on Work From Home Cybersecurity
By following the tips above, you’ll be free to enjoy all the benefits that work from home can provide.
One final tip for the road: don’t delay your software updates. Among other things, these updates fix security flaws and help protect your data. If you get a notification about them on any of your devices, install them as soon as possible.
Want to know more about the best work from home cybersecurity measures? Interested in other ways to protect your network from hackers? Keep reading our Networking section!