Online security awareness for remote workers or those locked down at home

Online security awareness for those working or locked down at home RiskXchange The leader in Third-Party Cyber Risk Management

With more and more of us either working from home or being forced into a coronavirus lockdown, the number of people connecting online has increased ten-fold. But don’t be fooled into thinking that by working from the privacy of your own home that your network is equally as safe and secure. Working from home not only leaves your personal information vulnerable to attack, but also private and confidential work data at the same time. It’s extremely important to ensure that your home network is protected at all costs.

The easiest way to protect yourself is through the use of a virtual private network (VPN), but there are many other methods and techniques to follow to ensure that you’re using the best cybersecurity protection measures. Here, RiskXchange delves deep to highlight the importance of security awareness for people working or locked down at home. Let’s take a closer look.

Securing your data

According to Tech Republic, maintaining safe cybersecurity practices at home is essential. It is important to ensure that your teams are prepared for any event that could cause high risk operational interruption.

Working remotely requires cooperation between external cybersecurity firms, internal security and IT departments, HR and management. Being ‘cyber smart’ at work and at home – using modern firewalls/routers, strong passwords, patching, etc. – goes a long way toward keeping your employees safe and your organisation secure. Sophisticated and even some basic security steps are effective measures against hackers, viruses and other malware attacks.

Let’s take a look at the top online threats that remote workers face today:

Unsecured Wi-FI networks

The number one security step is without doubt ensuring that your home Wi-Fi network is secure. Malicious parties can spy on internet traffic and collect confidential information from unsecured networks.

Home or personal devices often lack the necessary applications to secure business networks, such as adequate anti-virus software, automatic online back up tools and customised firewalls. The lack of these measures increases the risk of malware finding its way onto devices and into systems.

Use sophisticated passwords

Although it might seem obvious to highlight the use of strong and sophisticated passwords, it’s often a measure easily overlooked. It’s important to come up with a password that only you will remember, but at the same time something someone else won’t be able to guess. The best way to ensure that you have complex usernames and passwords in place is to take advantage of a password manager that will remember them for you – that way you can come up with combinations of letters and numbers that nobody else will ever be able to crack.

Set up two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) and two-step verification (2SV) add an extra layer of protection to your online accounts and networks. By sending an email, text message, a biometric test or using some other method, only the user will be able to verify access to the specific application.

Take advantage of a VPN

VPNs are not only used to bypass geographical restrictions by tunnelling your location elsewhere, but are also one of the best ways to protect your home network. A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic, so if anyone tries to intercept the information it will be almost impossible to do so. VPN networks will ensure that your data remains safe and secure and away from prying eyes, including hackers, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and government agencies.

Use firewalls

Firewalls act as an additional line of defence to prevent threats entering your system. Firewalls can be built into your system, but more sophisticated measures can be added to devices by cybersecurity professionals.

Make use of antivirus/endpoint software

There are plenty of endpoint software packages on the market, so choosing the right one is key to helping protect your computer and your network from malware attacks. Even if malware makes its way onto your device, the best endpoint software will be able to detect and remove it before it’s able to cause any damage.

Secure your router

Most people don’t realise that they are able to change their router password after it has been installed. Keeping it unchanged could leave you wide open for malicious parties to infiltrate your network and gain access to all the devices connected to the router. Install firmware updates so the security vulnerabilities can be patched and encryption should be set to WPA2 or WPA3. By restricting inbound and outbound traffic, using advanced encryption and switching off WPS, will further secure your network.

Regularly install updates

Make sure you keep on top of installing the latest updates. Not only will they help bolster your security measures, but will help with speed, efficiency and other issues. Software updates help protect your data and help patch security flaws.

Back up your data

Ransomware and other types of malware can strip data or wipe systems without you even realising it. Ensuring you have your data backed up in a cloud, hard drive or other safe place will ensure that you have everything in storage should anything go wrong.

Beware of phishing

Phishing emails, voicemails (vishing) and text messages (smishing) are often used by hackers to “phish” for data to conduct credit card and account takeover fraud. Phishing emails are usually easily to spot, but advanced security measures will help stop them from infiltrating your network.

Use secure remote desktop tools

Many stay-at-home workers connect via Remote Desktop Protocols (RDPs). While a majority of these applications are secure, security flaws have been found on some of the more popular RDP tools for Linux and Windows. The best advice we can give is to make sure a cybersecurity professional is able to check that all the right security measures are in place on your network.

About RiskXchange

RiskXchange is an information security technology company, that helps companies of all sizes fight the threat of cyber threats by providing instant risk ratings for any company across the globe. RiskXchange was founded and is led by recognised experts within the security industry, who have held leading roles within companies such as IBM Security.

We offer continuous cybersecurity monitoring, providing real-time visibility of users and their devices on all applications, software and device types. Our cybersecurity monitoring best practices give organisations the ability to continuously look over their network to stay one step ahead of any cyber threats.