How to Minimise Security Risks for Remote Workers
Internet & Mobile Security Blog | MATE | 27 November 2022
While COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing are all but a thing of the past, many Australians continue to embrace the new way of life the pandemic has left in its wake𑁋remote working. Though there are plenty of perks that come with ditching the commute and setting up shop at home, working from a remote environment can also expose employees and businesses to a number of cybersecurity risks.
With that in mind, the need to equip remote workers with ample internet security training is more important than ever. In this blog post, we clue you in on how you can safeguard yourself from data breaches, malware attacks and other online security vulnerabilities.
Use a VPN
When you connect to the internet, your device is assigned an IP address. This address can be used to track your location and identity, as well as any other internet activity you might be carrying out in the course of your workday. This is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy, as it encrypts your connection and changes your IP address, making it harder for cybercriminals to track or hack you. This precaution is especially important if you plan on using a public access Wi-Fi connection (e.g. in a cafe or franchise) as these are often unsecured, putting your sensitive data at a heightened security risk.
Update your software and apps
One of the most effective ways you can minimise remote work security risks is by making sure all your software and apps are up-to-date. Software updates for both operating systems (e.g. Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows) and web browsers (e.g. Google Chrome) often include security patches that fix known vulnerabilities in older versions. By running the latest version of your programs, you make it more difficult for cybercriminals to get a hold of your confidential data.
Strengthen your passwords
Another way to boost your internet and data security is by using strong passwords across all of your online accounts and your home Wi-Fi network. A combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols make for a much more secure password than something easily guessed, like your birthdate or the widely used “123456” or “password”.
You should also avoid using the same password across multiple accounts as this increases the chances of your information being compromised. Opting for a credible, cloud-based password manager is a smart and convenient way to keep track of your password across your accounts.
Consider using Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an extra level of security that requires users to provide two forms of identification when logging into their account. The first step is typically a password, followed by a code that’s generated by an app on your smartphone or sent to you via text message. This makes it much harder for cybercriminals to hack into your accounts, even if they’ve managed to steal your password.
Separate your work devices from your personal devices
The reality is that many remote workers rely on their mobile devices to complete some of their standard work tasks. The thing is, insecure mobile devices are often just as (if not more) vulnerable to security threats as their desktop counterparts. From innocent web browsing to downloading apps, there are a number of ways your mobile device can fall prey to malware.
That’s why it’s strongly advised that remote workers have work-dedicated devices alongside their personal-use devices to add that extra level of protection against potential attacks.