How to Amp Up Your Home Office Cyber Security
It’s unfortunate, but true: every crisis comes with its own wave of people trying to scam other people. As the methods are becoming more and more elaborate, one starts to wonder (besides what would happen if scammers used their talents for legit stuff):
How can I protect my private and corporate I.T. systems?
Searching for Weaknesses
Change is a process. As new procedures need to be identified, implemented, and established, big changes – like the one right now, moving from office work to home office – take time. That makes it a prime opportunity for cyber criminals and scam artists to get access to our personal data, financial information, sensitive documents, and much more.
Their chances at succeeding rise and fall with the effort we put into protecting ourselves: an unprotected home network is like a standing invitation for cyber criminals to help themselves to the buffet of personal information and company databases – multiplied by the number of team members who access it via an unsecured network.
The good news is that protecting yourself is relatively straight-forward. While there’s never a 150% guarantee, with the help of strong encryption and online security tools, your data and systems will be safe from most attacks.
While ‘password1’ or 'secret’ are easy to remember (and disturbingly popular choices), they are (unsurprisingly) not safe. Making it harder for hackers to get into your network isn’t rocket science, though: the step from NO password to A password is a small one for you, but a big one for cyber security.
If you don’t want to remember complicated random passwords, use a password manager instead. It securely stores all your passwords in one place and you only need to remember one strong password to access them all. As an alternative to long and hard to remember letter-number-symbol combinations, you can use a pass phrase such as “iL0veHolid@ys!nWint3r” or “#hAmsTerS4EveR”. It’s basically a phrase or line with some numbers and special characters replacing similar-looking letters.
Some cyber attacks are more subtle and hide in your inbox. Most modern email clients are smart enough to detect scam and spam emails by their content or sender address. However, there’s always some that slip through. The most important rule: If you’re not expecting an email or don’t know the sender, then don’t click on anything and never disclose any sensitive information. Legit organizations will NEVER ask you for your social security number, sensitive personal information, bank account, or credit card number.
For example: in the past weeks, scammers have sent out emails that look like they were coming from or associated with the World Health Organization (WHO), asking for donations or promising benefits in exchange for conference fees, reservations, etc. The emails were addressed to individuals as well as to companies.
Please make sure to very carefully authenticate emails (or other messages) from any source if it makes promises of benefits in exchange for financial transactions.
Regular Updates – The Scam Vaccine
I.T. is moving fast, and the world moves with it. Most hardware and software providers release updates and security patches at a regular interval to keep products safe and functional for users. However, the updates only work if they’re installed – not only at HQ, but on every device that has access to sensitive data.
Make sure that all staff members who work from home do so through secure channels (Email clients, secure Cloud storage, etc.), on frequently updated devices, and via protected networks. Installing a patch takes a few minutes – dealing with a security breach could cost you tons of money and significant business.
You can contact our specialists at any time if you need professional support.