Cybersecurity Tips for People Working from Home

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, more companies and professionals than ever are opting to perform tasks and work remotely from the comfort of their own homes. Whether you are choosing to work from home voluntarily or if you are readjusting your current position to your home office, it is imperative to remain safe and secure whenever you are online at all times. With the rise of remote workers and the influx of data breaches, hacking attempts, and online thievery, familiarizing yourself with various cybersecurity tips is essential before you begin logging on to work each day.

Use a Secured and Encrypted Network

Any time you connect to the internet it is important to do so with a secured and encrypted network. Avoid using free public Wi-Fi networks or hotspots, even if you are in a time crunch, as these networks are often public and leave users extremely vulnerable. Hackers and online data thieves typically target free Wi-Fi networks and other public connection spots to monitor and track user browsing as well as usernames and passwords. If you are connected to a free or public Wi-Fi spot, you have a much greater risk of becoming a target of an individual who is looking for highly sensitive and personal information from others in order to steal or hijack bank accounts and other online profiles or accounts. When you are working from home, it is important to do so only once you are connected to a secured and private home network connection. If you are unsure of whether or not your current home internet connection is safe, secured, and encrypted, call your ISP, or Internet Service Provider directly to inquire about your home’s setup.

See If Your Data Has Been Compromised

While the prospect of having your information leaked or hacked is daunting, there are tools available to check the status of your emails and passwords instantly. Use websites such as HaveIBeenPwned.com to check personal and work email addresses for potential data breaches or hacks they may have been involved in. If your email address and passwords have been leaked due to a hack or a data breach on any website or app you belong to, you may also be putting your same account and email at risk for other websites and applications if you use the same universal password. Some tips when creating a password for an online account include:

  • Use a mixture of special characters, uppercase letters, as well as lowercase letters
  • Implement the use of numerical characters to mix up your passwords
  • Avoid using the same password across the board with all of your online logins to prevent the exposure of bank accounts as well as email inboxes and social media accounts
  • Avoid using personal names, pet names, and other easily researchable identifiers that may help data thieves and hackers to guess your password with ease
  • Use an automatic password generator to store and generate passwords on a whim to create entirely unique passwords for applications and websites that are not of major importance to you on a daily basis

Using VPN Solutions

Using a VPN is one way to increase the overall anonymity you have online while also providing an additional layer of protection, encryption, and security to your internet browsing. A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network solution, is a service that helps individuals browse the internet completely anonymous and privately with the use of a masked IP address.

Whenever you browse online, you do so with an IP address that is linked to your specific location as well as your current ISP, or Internet Service Provider. With your IP address visible to social media networks, websites, applications, and even third-party advertisers, it is much easier for companies and services to target and create profiles for you as an individual. For those who are looking for ways to browse the internet completely free of privacy invasions, a VPN is often a viable solution.

With a VPN, you can access the internet each time by randomly generating a new IP address that is anonymous and from anywhere in the world. With some VPN services, you have the option of selecting where you would like your IP address to be generated from, which is ideal for those traveling internationally or anyone interested in material that is currently not available in their home country.

If you are working from home as a business owner or if you are working for an employer, there are a few advantages to using a VPN solution, such as:

  • Random IP Address Generation: Randomly generating an IP address when working from home is a way to remain as a moving target, making you less vulnerable to hacking attempts or phishing scams
  • Anonymity: When working from home, remaining anonymous online can help to prevent and eliminate the risk of becoming a target of hackers and thieves, which is paramount to protecting user data as well as sensitive client or customer information you work with on a regular basis
  • Bypass Filters: When using a VPN service, it is much easier to bypass both filters as well as blocks that you may encounter when browsing online or attempting to access certain content or media. Using a VPN is a way to eliminate all blocks, walls, and filters without any hassle
  • International Access: For those who are working from home, traveling internationally, or even working with clients and customers abroad, a VPN is often a must. A VPN solution provides users with the ability to browse any website, URL, or access any form of content even if it is not currently permitted and available in their home country or the country they are currently in. If you choose to travel abroad for work or even as a freelancer, using a VPN can help to eliminate the obstacles you encounter when attempting to communicate or research while being restricted with a standard IP address

To learn more about VPNs and to get started, try a VPN free trial. With a free trial, you can put a VPN service to the test to determine whether or not the privacy and security solution is right for you while working from home.

Keep Up With Scams and Phishing Attempts

In order to remain truly vigilant when browsing online or working from home, it is important to keep up with the latest scams and phishing attempts that are most common or relevant to your own online habits. When you are aware of various phishing scams and hacking attempts that are most likely to occur, you are less likely to fall for them, inadvertently sharing personal and sensitive information such as your email address and password. Some of the most common scams today may involve:

  • Email scams which request fake confirmations, additional personal information, or even payment details from your banks, email provider, ISP, and more
  • Fake URLs that are used to mimic and mirror real websites that are relevant to specific individuals, prompting them to share personal login details before verifying the website’s authenticity itself
  • Unsecure websites that provide hackers and scammers with complete access to user data as well as payment data that has been shared with the website

In order to avoid potential phishing attempts and scams, keep these cybersecurity tips in mind:

  • Always verify the spelling of a URL to ensure it is the same as the business or brand you are interested in. Many online scams today involve tricking users into believing they are accessing a legitimate website when it is simply a lookalike waiting to collect user data and passwords.
  • Check to see if a website is using an SSL, or Secured Sockets Layer certificate, especially before entering a username and password or providing payment information. You can verify that a website is using an SSL certificate by identifying a small lock icon (which should be closed to indicate that it is secure) in the upper right or left-hand section of your browser’s URL bar.
  • Avoid opening emails from addresses or individuals that you are not familiar with personally or professionally. Never click a link that is suspicious or sent from a strange or unrecognizable email. Do not download or open files that you have downloaded from any individual before using an antivirus program to scan the file(s) thoroughly.

Use Antivirus Software

Using antivirus software should be done whether you are working from home or simply browsing your family computer. Before you begin working from home, be sure to inquire about antivirus software packages or deals directly from your employer. If you are working full-time for an employer, it is likely that they will provide you with antivirus software or additional direction on how to install an antivirus program of their choice at home. Because each corporation and business operates differently online and when accessing client data and information, it is highly advisable to speak with your employer to ensure that you are using antivirus software that is right for your needs as well as your specific position while working from home.

Understanding the importance of cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of working from home, whether you are working for an established corporation or as an independent freelancer and contractor. Any time you are working from home, inputting passwords, and sharing sensitive information, it is essential to ensure your online privacy and security are intact. With a greater understanding of today’s data thieves and rampant hacking society, it is much easier to determine which course of action is best when it comes to protecting your own email addresses, passwords, and sensitive details any time you are working online from home.


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