Tips from the Community on Maintaining Online Safety

Worldwide, October is designated as a month dedicated to promoting Cybersecurity Awareness, urging people to understand the significance of cybersecurity in their workplaces and homes, and granting them the essential skills needed to achieve this. ‘See Yourself in Cybersecurity’ is this year’s theme, which emphasises the measures that we can all take to improve cybersecurity in every situation. It is the duty of all individuals, regardless of their field of expertise or job location, to contribute towards strengthening cybersecurity.

As the number of remote workers increases, it becomes increasingly essential to implement effective cybersecurity measures. Lack of adequate protection could lead to confidential data being exposed to malicious attacks, and platforms such as unencrypted communication channels, online data forms, shared calendars, and documents can all act as potential sources of security breaches. Therefore, taking proactive steps to ensure online safety and safeguard against potential threats is crucial.

We reached out to the experts at Works to obtain their best advice on ensuring the safety of remote workers, and came up with six excellent suggestions!

Install anti-virus software and ensure it stays updated

Malware, a type of vicious software, is commonly used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data. To infect your device and obtain your personal information, malware often employs the tactic of tricking you into downloading dangerous applications. If you are a remote worker, how can you safeguard yourself from this type of malicious software? The ideal method to ensure your safety is by installing an anti-virus programme. While corporations must have anti-malware software on their work computers, remote workers are responsible for their own security. Popular options for anti-virus software include Bitdefender, Norton, and Trend Micro. Be sure to keep your software updated to the latest versions available.

Be cautious of social engineering attempts

Social media platforms are frequently utilised for both personal and professional communication, making them potential targets for ‘social engineering’ practices. In this technique, cybercriminals deceive their targets into divulging confidential data, such as bank account details or passwords. This type of attack is better known as ‘phishing’. To avoid falling prey to these phishing attempts, it is crucial to be cautious while handling emails, particularly if they are from unfamiliar sources. Verify all emails before sending, and do not immediately access or respond to any attachments or links. Whenever in doubt, either alert your IT department or delete the email.

Improve security of your wireless network.

Cybercriminals might try to breach your security by attempting to access your home’s Wi-Fi network. To improve your wireless network’s security, implement a strong password that is difficult to guess. Additionally, do not write down or store the password in an easily accessible location.

Always verify information before accepting it

Two-factor authentication (2FA) provides an additional layer of security for online accounts by requiring a password and a one-time code from the authenticator app or security system. By requiring these two security elements, it can help prevent successful phishing emails and malware attacks.

A password authentication is common, but two other methods of authentication involves a one-time code and push notification. SMS is a straightforward option, but it is not considered as secure an authentication method since fraudsters have found ways to exploit telecommunication companies through social engineering. Thus, it is recommended that you use an authenticator app, such as Google Authenticator, to provide an additional layer of security.

Utilise a Virtual Private Network

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) serve several purposes other than bypassing geographical restrictions on content. They also preserve users’ anonymity while browsing the web. By using a VPN, users can transmit and receive data over public networks safely, as if they were directly connected to a private network. Consequently, users can access private data securely while connected to public networks, such as those found in coffee shops or shared office spaces. When choosing a VPN, users should be mindful, as some may include malicious software that may jeopardise their device’s security.

Activate self-locking functions

Before leaving your device unattended, it is critical to ensure that it is secure, regardless of your location, such as within a coworking space, home office, or café. Although this may appear to be an obvious safety measure, we are all guilty of leaving our phones or computers unlocked when not paying attention. Fortunately, automatic locking feature is available as a solution. This feature is usually enabled by default on most modern computers and laptops, including Apple products. To boost security, it is advisable to set an appropriate lock time, such as 15 seconds for a mobile device or three minutes for a laptop.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month; Enjoy yourself! And remember to ensure your online safety consistently!

Recommendations were given by the Works community.

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