The global pandemic is affecting nearly every part of our lives, including work. More and more companies are starting to implement work-from-home policies, which can be great: a more flexible work schedule, no commuting, not to mention keeping your health out of harm’s way.
However, working remotely has its challenges. Maintaining the same level of digital protection when you’re away from the office is difficult on a good day, and cybercriminals know that.
Criminals are taking advantage of the chaos COVID-19 has caused to target businesses that are facing the challenges presented by the crisis. According to the FBI, cyberattacks spiked by 400% since the start of the pandemic. So, with lesser security at home and more cyber threats than ever, how do you keep your data safe when working remotely? Check out these five tips to increase your security.
Passwords Are Essential
This shouldn’t be surprising — complex and unique passwords are critical in keeping your data secure. Yet, in 2019, Verizon found that a staggering 80% of data breaches exploited weak passwords. So, how do you make sure your logins are strong enough?
- The longer, the better — make sure all your passwords are at least eight characters long. Aim for 12 characters whenever possible.
- Use alphanumeric passwords. Include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters in every password.
- Never reuse a password. Ensure each of your accounts is protected with a unique password. When you reuse your passwords, if one of them were to get compromised, the rest of your credentials would be at risk too.
- Get a password manager. Keeping track of your credentials can be tough, so a password manager can be the perfect solution. It keeps your logins safe in one place, so you don’t have to worry about resetting your password ever again. Managers like NordPass also include a password generator, which comes up with random, unique, and complex passwords to protect your accounts. More on that can be found here.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Look over your accounts and make sure to turn on multi-factor authentication whenever possible. If criminals were to crack your password, this would be the last line of defense to protect your accounts.
Look Out for Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are all the rage during the crisis. Pandemic-themed phishing emails have been making their way into our inboxes since the very beginning of the breakout. If an email looks suspicious or urges you to take immediate action, like resetting your passwords, don’t act on it. Instead of clicking on the link in the email, hover your mouse over it to make sure it leads to the website it says it will.
Update Your Software
We’re all tempted to click the “Remind me later” button whenever we receive a software update. However, this is exactly what could make your device the perfect target for cybercriminals. Software updates don’t just improve your machine’s performance or contain neat new features. Most of them have crucial vulnerability patches to prevent hackers from exploiting your device. The older your software, the more vulnerable your sensitive data.
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Back up Everything
Keeping a safe back-up of your data can save you a lot of stress. Whether it’s an unexpected power outage, a clumsy roommate with a cup of coffee, or a ransomware attack, if you don’t have a back-up, your data may be lost forever.
Just like phishing, ransomware has increased dramatically during the pandemic. It is a type of malware that encrypts the files on the victim’s device and demands to pay a ransom for the files to be decrypted. Having a separate copy of essential documents helps you ensure that your data won’t be lost for good.
Hope you find this article helpful. Here you can see some other challenges of managing a remote workforce and how to solve them.
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