There is no denying that businesses around the world have benefitted hugely from the increased levels of connectivity and digitalisation, from more efficient services to opportunities for remote working. But given the sudden swell in people working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic hackers are exploiting fear and urgency around it to increase their chances of success. The virus is a useful opportunity to help them launch cyber-attacks and attempt to commit online fraud.
One of the big problems with so many people now working remotely is that data breaches have become a lot more difficult to detect, so the emphasis is on the need for the individual to be aware of the online threats that could affect them. The increase in people working from home directly correlates with an increased use of personal devices and networks that often lack features such as antivirus software, customised firewalls and automated backup tools. As a result phishing scams (emails purporting to be from reputable companies to induce individuals to reveal personal information such as passwords) and social engineering (a technique used to trick users into revealing confidential information) are more likely to be used as a way of gaining access to an individual’s personal data or to compromise a business’s operations.
Here are some helpful steps you can take to protect yourself while working from home:
· Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
· Use a virtual private network (VPN).
· Enable firewalls on your devices and home router.
· Use antivirus software and keep it up to date.
· Secure your home router with WiFi encryption and change its default “admin” password.
· Install the latest updates for your operating system and software.
· Back up your data.
· Lock your device when not in use
· Never be tempted to give your password or bank details
· Think before you click - be aware of phishing emails.
· Be suspicious of all emails, even those from people or companies you think you know.
· If there are spelling mistakes or the email address looks strange, then delete it immediately
· Be careful when you see an email with a coronavirus theme
· Remember, scammers could contact you by phone or text.
But the bottom line is, if you receive an email that looks suspicious or you are not sure about its contents don’t open it or click on a link until you can verify who sent it and whether it’s legitimate.
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