The pandemic has compelled many organizations from across the globe to encourage their employees to work from home. As much as it is a good move aimed at curbing the spread, this sudden change of work policies can be a cause of dire cybersecurity implications. 

To help you settle in this new shift with ease, this article reveals some of the security risks associated with remote working. We have also included 5 security tips that will help you keep your devices protected.

3 risks of working remotely

Phishing scams

Remote workers are a soft target for malicious phishing scams. Hackers and other cybercriminals know that many employees are now working from home. They also know that this is something that is new to many organizations and has only been necessitated by the global pandemic; and therefore, many organizations do not have proper security measures in place. 

As such, these malicious people might want to capitalize on this time to spam remote workers with phishing scams through emails and targeting them with other malicious links. The danger with these scams is that once clicked on, the links download malware onto a user’s device. The malware may be an avenue to spy on your activities or even steal your confidential data.

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Unsecured networks

Organizations do not have express control over the internet connections that their employees are using while working remotely. While the home networks may be secure; employees may once in a while have to use public networks such as free wireless connections.

If unsecured, shared networks are a prime spot for malicious people who are constantly spying in a bid to steal confidential information. This may expose important data such as corporate accounts into risk.

Failure to separate work and personal data

While the idea might sound convenient, using the same device for work and personal tasks widens the organization’s vulnerability to an attack. Personal devices, for instance, may have applications or software that require additional security measures which an organization may not have put in place.

The higher the number of ‘foreign’ devices introduced in an organization’s network, the higher the vulnerability to security threats.

Fortunately, you can prevent your remote work devices from being compromised by employing the following security tips.

5 security tips to protect your device

Use strong passwords

Protect all your accounts with strong passwords. This includes your device access and account access passwords. The best passwords have a mix of all the characters, that is lower case, uppercase, numbers and special characters.

You should also avoid the habit of using the same password across multiple accounts. Here is why; should a criminal be able to compromise a single account then he will be able to take over every other account associated with you.

Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

You can also ensure security at every level of remote work by using a VPN app. VPNs are easy to use, all that is required is an installation in all the work devices and you are good to go. One of the many functions of VPNs is that you are guaranteed private connections even over unsecured networks like public Wi-Fi.

You, therefore, are at liberty to work from anywhere and your organization can rest assured knowing that their data is safe and secured.

Use an antivirus

Using an antivirus is also a way to try and detect malware before it gets into your device. An antivirus that offers internet security is especially recommended for remote workers who are constantly sharing correspondences over the internet. 

For proper security, it is recommended that you keep the antivirus software up-to-date at all times.

Remain watchful of remote work scams

Avoid falling victim to phishing attacks that target remote workers. Keep off any email (no matter how genuine they appear) that requests for personal information such as contacts, location, bank account or any other payment details.  Many scamming and phishing emails promise huge amounts of money while others ask for upfront payments.

During this pandemic, these emails may be tailored to appear like they are coming from your organization or related to COVID 19-overcoming strategies. You should remain watchful because one compromised device could cause severe damages to the entire work network.

Keep the devices up-to-date

Prompts to update a device’s software can be very annoying. They are, however, very important. New releases contain security patches that developers might have realized from the previous versions.

Limit the possibility of having malicious people capitalize on the vulnerabilities by installing updates whenever they are available. You can limit downtimes caused by software updates by enabling automatic updates. This way, the updates will install automatically even when you are not working.

Conclusion

The internet and other advancements in technology have made adjusting this new normal simpler. We can continue delivering even without reporting to our workstations daily as it were.

With the above security tips, you can continue to deliver as per your organization’s expectations from the comfort of your couch: and while at; be able to do so securely.

Writer’s bio:

Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on cybersecurity and privacy tools.