Best Practices for Working from Home and Remotely: Cybersecurity Risks
Working from home is become much more commonplace globally since the epidemic. Numerous believe that remote working will continue to be common across many industries even after the epidemic has passed.
While it is practical and offers numerous advantages, working from home also exposes people and companies to a variety of cybersecurity dangers. Because of this, home cybersecurity must be seriously considered. You may simply reduce the majority of cybersecurity hazards at home by adhering to basic practices.
Keeping yourself secure when working from home
Certain cybersecurity dangers, phishing in particular, have increased in frequency with the rise in remote working. One major problem is that an IT team often handles office cybersecurity in most organizations. Due to the distant nature of a distributed workforce, employees must be extra vigilant about cybersecurity risks. To guarantee that you and your workers can work from home securely, here are the top remote working security measures.
1. At home, utilize antivirus and internet security software
Purchasing a complete antivirus package for you and your staff is one of the best security recommendations for remote workers.
The projected annual cost of cybercrime to firms throughout the world is $1.5 billion, according sources. As hackers attempt to access private information by using company VPNs and residential internet networks, this number is only expected to rise.
You, your company, and your workers may be vulnerable to ransomware, DDoS, malware, spyware, and other forms of breaches as a result of these assaults.
Antivirus suites relieve you of the tedious job by providing automatic remote work protection against a variety of dangers, such as:
0 day attacks (viruses taking advantage of security flaws before they are patched)
viruses, spyware, and malware
Worms and Trojans
Phishing schemes, including email-based ones
2. Prevent family members from using work equipment
Even while you may have faith in yourself and your technologically skilled staff to keep themselves secure online, it’s important to bear in mind that when workers work from home, corporate computers are more likely to be used by small children and other members of their families.
Therefore, it’s crucial to remind employees to keep their gear secure and prevent access from family members to their work computers, phones, and other hardware. Reminding them of the value of password-protecting their devices to stop unauthorized users from accessing private information is also important.
Using a home office? Utilize our advice to keep yourself safe online.
3. Purchase an adjustable webcam cover.
Participating in teleconferences and video chats while working from home typically necessitates the usage of a camera. Unfortunately, crafty hackers may quickly and illegally access your webcam, jeopardizing your privacy. Even worse, hackers may be able to view any private papers you have lying around your actual office by seizing control of your webcam.
When not in use, you should unplug your webcam if it is separate from your device. You should take extra precautions to protect yourself if your webcam is built-in since you never know when a webcam assault can happen.
To meet your demands, sliding webcam covers are simple to get online in a variety of forms, dimensions, and hues. Additionally, most of them come with an adhesive coating that goes around your webcam, making them generally simple to install.
If your platform includes a “blur backdrop” functionality, you might also wish to utilize it when utilizing videoconferencing software. This can stop conference attendees from spying on items in your home’s backdrop, which frequently contain sensitive information about you or your clients.
Utilize a VPN.
Connecting your computer to the company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) in order to work remotely opens up additional “back doors” for home office security that hackers might possibly exploit.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to give staff members advice on working securely from home as well as guidelines or regulations on how to do so. Businesses should search for measures to increase the security of their VPN.
Using the strongest authentication technique available can improve VPN security. Although a username and password are commonly used by VPNs, you might want to consider upgrading to the usage of smart cards. Additionally, you may improve the encryption used for VPN access by switching from a Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol to a Layer Two Tunneling Protocol, for instance (L2TP).
No matter how secure your VPN is, if a worker’s password is exposed, hackers will have a quick way in. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that staff routinely update their passwords. Remind staff to turn off the VPN if they are using their work devices for personal purposes in the nights or on the weekends and to only use it when necessary.
Employees will use their home networks and internet connections while working from home. Therefore, it is a good idea to instruct staff members on how to set up their personal firewalls and wireless routers so they can maintain the security of their home networks.
Additionally, your VPN will be protected by complete security and antivirus protection.
5. Make use of a central storage option
Make sure all of your staff are using the cloud or server storage if your business depends on it. If you believe your staff are still storing data locally or are unaware of your centralized storage solution, talk to them to make sure they are aware of it. In this approach, you are more likely to have a backup of the important documents in case your business is attacked and local data are lost, destroyed, or corrupted. Important documents will also be safer using this strategy since your centralized storage solution’s firewall will safeguard them.
When working from home, protect your wifi network.
6. Protect your WiFi at home
Increasing the security of your home Wi-Fi network is one of the simplest methods to guarantee cybersecurity for remote employees. This is achievable by following a few simple steps.
Instead of depending on the default password that came with your router, create a strong, one-of-a-kind password. By entering “192.168.1.1” into your browser, you may reach the router’s settings page and change the password there. Make careful to use a password that is challenging for anyone to decipher. On the same settings page, you may modify your wireless network’s SSID, or name, to make it more challenging for outsiders to locate and use your home Wi-Fi network. Useless identifiers like your name, address, or anything else are to be avoided.
Make sure network encryption is enabled. You can often accomplish this on your wireless setup page under the security options. You may select from a number of security measures, including WEP, WPA, and WPA2. WPA2 is the most effective if you have more modern hardware (built after 2006).
For further protection, you can restrict network access to just certain MAC addresses. Every device that connects to your network has a distinct MAC address, which can be found by opening Command Prompt and typing “ipconfig/all” for each device. If you are aware of the addresses of verified devices, you may add them to your wireless router’s settings to restrict access to your Wi-Fi network to those devices only.
Finally, make sure your firmware is up to date by often visiting the router settings page. Potential security issues are frequently addressed by patches and software upgrades.
7. Watch out for video conferencing and Zoom
Videoconferencing software is frequently used when working remotely, which might pose security issues to WFH.
For instance, in the past, a string of so-called “Zoom bombing” assaults forced Zoom to fix security weaknesses. Uninvited individuals break into someone else’s video conference during these assaults in order to intimidate and harass other participants. Although the Zoom app is where the phrase “Zoom bombing” originated, similar events have happened on other platforms.
Sensitive information about your organization or your clients might be disclosed if your video chats are bugged and watched, which poses threats to your business. Hacker assaults on members of your employees might be traumatic and personal.
The FBI issued guidance to assist consumers stay safe when using video conferencing software in reaction to Zoom bombing attempts. This comprises:
Ensure confidentiality of meetings by requiring a password or restricting visitor access from a waiting area.
When choosing providers, take security concerns into account. Check to see whether any video conferencing software you use has end-to-end encryption since it gives significant privacy and protection.
Install the most recent patches and software updates to make sure that the program is current.
8. Be certain that your passwords are robust and safe.
Strengthening your passwords and making sure that you have the best possible password security across all of your devices are two of the easiest, yet sometimes disregarded, ways to secure yourself when working from home.
This recommendation is made by the US Federal Trade Commission.
“Use passwords on all of your hardware and software. A combination of numbers, symbols, capital, and lowercase letters, together with at least 12 characters, should be used to create strong, unique passwords.
In order to make it more difficult for a third party to access your important data in the event that your computer is compromised or ends up in the wrong hands, they also advise adding a password screen each time you access your laptop and other devices. To keep all of your passwords secure, we advise utilizing a password management application.
9. Guard your internet banking.
You must make sure that money is transported and held in the safest manners if you are in charge of managing business accounts. An online banking platform security breach is the last thing you want to happen.
First and foremost, it’s crucial to manage money with just approved software and services. Use only services you are familiar with and are aware of. Before utilizing a platform if you have any doubts about its reliability, go online for reviews and other information. Credible organizations should include contact information on their websites for real persons that clients may speak to if they have any issues.
Make sure you are logged in using a Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol before visiting a financial website. This implies that the beginning of the URL should be https:// rather than merely http://. Most online browsers should also display a lock to the left of the URL bar, signifying that the website has a verified security certificate.
Tightening passwords, adding memorable information, and, if feasible, requesting your bank for a card reader to make sure that all online payments require a physical payment card are all ways to strengthen the security of your personal and corporate bank accounts. Many systems now demand a confirmed fingerprint to log in, which might increase security even further, assuming you can convert to mobile banking.
Hackers, con artists, and phishers could attempt to contact you through phone, email, or social media advertisements. They could ask for your bank information if they wish to assist you in making significant purchases or contributions. Never divulge your bank information to anybody or send money to any unsolicited sellers unless you are certain they are who they claim to be.
Keep in mind that con artists may attempt to pose as your coworkers, clients, or professional organizations, such as your bank, in order to fool you into disclosing sensitive information or transferring money. Be cautious and don’t be afraid to request extra identification from anybody.
10. Exercise caution on email scams and email security
Emails are necessary for interoffice communication. Emails are one of the most easily abused and compromised forms of communication, though.
Numerous suggestions have been made for assisting in personnel protection while working from home, especially in the usage of emails, by the UK’s National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC).
They propose the following steps for securing email accounts in addition to drawing attention to the phishing scams, which are growing more common:
Make sure that only your company’s VPN, which establishes an encrypted network connection, may be used to read emails safely. The VPN authenticates the user and/or device and encrypts data while it is being sent between the user and your services. Make sure your VPN, if you use one, is adequately patched.
When employees are away from the workplace or their homes, they are more prone to have their equipment stolen or lost. To secure email data on the device in the event of loss or theft, make sure their devices encrypt data at rest. Although encryption is usually already included in current devices, it may still need to be enabled and set.
Watch out for phishing assaults, which seem to be taking on an increasing variety of shapes.
Working from Home: Staff Security Advice
In conclusion, remote workers should utilize the following advice as a checklist to guarantee that working from home is safe:
Are you protecting your home network with a complete antivirus and security program?
Have you protected your gadgets by keeping them away from household pets and making sure encryption is on and set up properly? On each of your devices, are “Find my device” and remote wiping enabled?
Have you bought a webcam cover yet? Do you disconnect your external webcam when not in use if there is one?
Do you employ a VPN?
Has your house Wi-Fi been protected?
Have you checked to make sure your passwords are safe and robust?
Are you aware of the risks associated with phishing scams? Do you stay away from any emails whose links or attachments you are dubious about?
Are you running an operating system that is supported, and do you maintain it up to date?
Do you maintain all of your software current?
Have you thought about using an authenticator software like Google Authenticator or Authy, or have you implemented two-factor authentication where it makes sense?
Do you use caution when making video conversations to avoid oversharing and to be aware of any background distractions?
Employer Security Tips for Those Working from Home
Employers thinking about best practices for remote worker security should use the following advice as a checklist:
Do you have a written security policy for working from home? Here is a useful illustration from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Does your company have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?
Do you educate staff members about cyber security?
Do you specifically teach your team how to recognize phishing attempts and how to avoid falling for them?
Are you verifying that employees utilize a VPN, and that it is configured properly and updated with security patches?
Is the end-to-end encryption on the technology you use for staff video teleconferences secure?
Do you employ a centralized storage solution, such as secure cloud data storage, and encourage personnel to frequently backup data?
Are company-approved antivirus programs used to protect devices used for business?
Do you advocate for secure passwords among staff members? Have you thought about using a password manager?
Do you recommend two-factor authentication for confirming user credentials?
Do you employ encryption software to safeguard corporate information by preventing access from unauthorized users?
Do you urge employees to store or transmit personal data using business email solutions rather than using their personal email or messaging accounts?
Security for remote workers has become a prominent concern as the number of people working from home has expanded globally. Individuals and organizations may reduce risks and guarantee safety by adhering to cybersecurity best practices when working remotely.