For various reasons, the “work from home” lifestyle has become the primary way to work. It’s remote, meaning many people can live anywhere in the world and work at the same company without showing up in person. The schedules are flexible, the dress code is less formal, and Zoom and Skype are crucial in business meetings. Consequently, this is the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to strike; you won’t suspect them striking your home devices because your guard is down. Therefore, counterattack cybercriminals with these cyber security strategies.
Update Software and Hardware When Prompted
Important and optional software and hardware updates fix flaws in security patches, safeguard data, and improve security. Up-to-date software and hardware are stronger against harmful threats than out-of-date or end-of-life software and hardware. Update all laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones promptly, including anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, firewalls, and VPN. Continue to install updates when recent versions of installed software and hardware arrive.
Social media business profiles, cloud accounts, email accounts, corporate login pages, Wi-Fi routers, tech devices, and more require strong passwords to stop cybercriminals from stealing important information. The best passwords are at minimum eight to 10 characters long and combine lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use dictionary words, personal information, number sequences, repetitive numbers, “qwerty,” or “password” as passwords. Change all passwords every three months using the same strategy to keep cybercriminals at bay.
Trust, Then Verify
Multi-factor authentication, two-step verification, two-step authentication, and multifactor authentication are the same thing. It’s an extra step an owner of the account must take to confirm you are the owner and the account is yours. The extra step is entering a code sent to your cell phone number, answering a security question, and/or providing biometric identification. Accounts likely to ask for authentication/verification are financial institutions, social media accounts, email accounts, and corporate accounts, so add it to all accounts that prefer the extra step. It becomes harder for cybercriminals to steal your information.
Be Mindful of Phishing Emails
Email accounts are a breeding ground for phishing scams. Phishing criminals lay the groundwork for identity theft and ransomware by appearing to be legitimate, hoping you will click a link or open an attachment filled with viruses and malware ready to strike. Alternatively, the email, link, or attachment may ask for highly sensitive information (such as bank account number). Delete any email you do not recognize and do not give any information away. Visit the employer’s official website or emailing the person in question directly about the email. Give any information needed to the employer or person directly. Install email security software and email encryption software too. Furthermore, train yourself to search for phishing emails by finding things like misspelled words, scare tactics, vague salutations, suspicious domains, and amiss images and layouts in the email.
Separate Business Devices from Personal Devices
Whatever device you use for work should not be the device you use to watch movies or listen to music. Like business and personal social media accounts, having a tech device for work and another for personal use keeps sensitive data secure. Additionally, keep the business device away from family and friends, especially children. These people will press buttons and click links unknowingly, causing more harm than good.
Cybercriminals are a never-ending threat to your devices. Before you trade the office environment for a bed, couch, or table, ensure the laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone is ready to protect and secure information transferred and received through cyberspace. Too many threats, both seen and unseen, are lurking on the internet to browse without protective defense to battle against it. Treat your laptop, desktop, phone, or tablet like the office computer and rely on your co-workers, management, and IT department for help with any tech-related issues.