How to stay safe online while working from home

Working from home has become the new normal for the majority of us, all over the world. Thanks to COVID-19, many businesses have got used to operating in a new way. With employees working from home, there also comes some considerable risks that we all need to be aware of. 

With hacks, scams, malware, and more – the Internet can be a very dangerous place at times, and with the recent increase in remote working, the use of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets – we open ourselves up to even greater risks.

However, there is good news. By taking just a handful of steps and security measures, you can reduce your exposure to these threats and make sure you’re protected online, all the time – regardless where you’re working from.

Protect Your Passwords

In the same way that you wouldn’t share your ATM pin with the world, don’t share your online passwords with anyone either. While working remotely, you need to take extra care when creating and using your passwords. 

This may sound like common sense, but making sure you don’t tell anyone your passwords and covering your screen if working in a ‘public’ place is the easiest way to keep your online activity safe. 

Additionally, many people use the same password from device to device and program to program which reduces security. It’s best to also use different passwords that are not easy to guess. This includes removing any personal information from them (names, obvious dates etc..)

Another way you can mitigate this risk is by using a password manager that can randomly generate passwords for you and that stores them all safely, so that there is no issue with remembering multiple passwords. Check out Last Pass to get you started with managing your passwords.

 

 

Make Sure Online Security is up to date

 

When working remotely, it’s not uncommon for people to use their personal devices instead of the ones supplied for them by their employer or business. When employees use their own devices, they potentially put their business at risk by allowing their businesses data to be stores on less secure devices.

Devices that are used for work by the business, should be properly protected with antivirus, web filtering, firewalls and other preventative measures. Therefore, if you choose to use your own device to work from while working from home, you should make sure your security protection is up-to-date. A good place to start is by making sure you have WOT installed on all your devices. 

Available for iOS, Android and Desktop – WOT protects you while you browse, warning you when you visit dangerous sites, or are in danger of scams, malware, phishing, rogue web stores, dangerous links, and more. 

Reputation icons are displayed next to search results, social media, email, and other popular sites to help you make informed decisions online. For example WOT colors the web with colored donut like icons;

  • Red indicates potential danger
  • Yellow tells you to be careful
  • Green means it’s a safe website

These let you know the safety rating of a site and enables a site security check on every single website.

Additionally, WOT is powered by a community of 140 million users who rate and review websites to make sure you know which ones are safe and which are not. You can check out the scorecard of a website to make sure you’re aware of where you’re shopping from and how safe a site is. 

Avoid Using Public WIFI

Working remotely means that you could find yourself needing to connect to public WIFI, and while WOT Android can help you avoid using dangerous WIFI networks you need to be aware of other security risks too, that enable cybercriminals to attack. Some of these risks include;

  • Man-in-the-middle attacks – through public networks, hackers have the ability to position themselves between you and your business.
  • Malware attacks – Hackers can use unsecured networks to distribute malware. 
  • Snooping and sniffing – Another public WIFI risk is hackers using software kits that enable them to ‘snoop’ on WIFI signals, allowing them to access everything you’re doing online
  • Worm attacks – these act much like viruses but unlike viruses that need to have a program to attack to successfully compromise a device, worms can wreak havoc by themselves through public WIFI, travelling from device to device. 

Therefore, where possible, make sure you can connect to a private network in order to keep your information safe and secure.

Additionally, should you still need to use a public network, you need to make sure you know how to disable file sharing, log out of accounts when you’re finished using them and only visit sites using HTTPS. WOT can also check sites for you and let you know how safe they are before you browse them to further help keep you and your data out of harm’s way.

Look out for Phishing Emails 

You’ll probably be using your emails a lot more when working from home to communicate with your colleagues and other business associates. This makes it even more important for you to be able to spot phishing emails and to know what information you should open and what you should avoid opening through email. The WOT desktop extension can mark URLs on your Gmail and help you avoid phishing attacks.

Hackers that send phishing emails, hope  that you won’t notice it’s not an official link or email and that you’ll hand over the login credentials to your business information, social network, cloud storage, or other personal data valuable to them — and allow your real accounts to be breached or sold on the darknet to other parties.

During the pandemic, many cybercriminals are exploiting public fears of the coronavirus with phishing emails. Hackers are impersonating the CDC and World Health Organization with phishing emails that contain malicious links, allowing hackers to download malware onto a victim’s computer. 

Companies and individuals alike need to be very vigilant and aware during this pandemic and use the internet with caution while working from home. So, if you wanted to protect yourself, don’t click on any email links, even if it seems as if they come from a trustworthy source. Instead, manually type the address into the address bar or use a bookmark.

Protect Your Mobile Devices

Our mobile devices can be very vulnerable to online threats while working remotely. Mobile devices face all sorts of risks such as apps and dangerous links sent by text message. You need to be very careful where you click and be sure to avoid responding to strange messages that may contain harmful links. 

Make sure you only download apps from official sources such as Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store, depending on your device and that you check reviews to make sure you’re downloading something legit.

In the latest update to the WOT App now available on the Google Play Store we have made protecting your mobile device a lot easier! With new features including App scanning for hidden threats and WiFi protection for unsafe networks – you can rest assured that you’ll be protected from risks while using your mobile device.

The WOT scorecard will also help in validating a website for you that you may wish to browse on a mobile device. Make sure you check out the user ratings and reviews of specific sites on WOT before browsing them to ensure total security. 

Be Aware of the Latest Scams

An online scam consists of various ‘attack methods’ from cyberthieves that use the internet to attack unsuspecting victims.

While working from home, it is crucial that you are aware of these scams in order to protect your business and private information that may not be as secure as it would be, if you were working from the office. 

Internet scams come in lots of different forms and can consist of everything from malicious software in programs and apps , to phishing scams, malware attacks when shopping online,  or to your email and social media accounts. 

They’ll almost always try and trick you into handing out financial information or some form of private data and many successful internet scams have similar endings: Victims either lose their own money, information or access to their accounts 

Online threats are constantly evolving and making sure you are up to date on the latest scams is vital.

Summary

Remote working is the new trend for workplaces, especially during the current challenging time the world is facing with the novel Coronavirus. 

For employers and their employees there is the constant worry of data loss, however as we have outlined, there are many different ways to mitigate the risks.

Simply using the tips above could help you and your employees to keep data safe while working remotely.

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