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Don’t Get Scammed: Top Security Tips for Work-From-Home Professionals

April 27, 2020

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For the past few months there’s been one thing on our minds – coronavirus. This novel coronavirus virus covid-19 has created a great chaos and confusion worldwide. We don’t know when we will get a sure shot cure for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Till then, we must maintain social distancing in order to contain its spread. To promote social distancing, many organizations are encouraging or instructing their employees to work from home even post the crisis.

Definitely working from home will reduce chances of spreading coronavirus, but it will expose professionals to new risks. A company’s network usually has plenty of safeguards that provide a measure of protection against hackers and scammers. But when a professional is working from home, he or she is less protected against these threats.

Here are some tips for Work-From-Home Professionals to make sure they maintain their cybersecurity hygiene during the coronavirus lockdown.

Be careful of Phishing Scams – In the past few weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of phishing scams. Hackers are capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic to send emails that trick users into clicking on malicious links, downloading malware-infected files, or revealing important personal data to the attackers. Therefore, be extremely cautious when checking your work email.

Increase Accounts’ Security – The most valuable thing hackers will be after are your business and financial accounts. Taking over these accounts lets them steal company data, siphon money from your bank account, or use your account to impersonate you and stage attacks against coworkers.

To prevent this from happening, first make sure you are using strong passwords. And, don’t forget to enable two-factor authentication (2FA), a feature that most online services support. It requires users to provide an extra token of ownership (say, a one-time password, physical key, or fingerprint) when logging in.

Isolate Work From Your Personal Life – Just as isolation in the physical world is helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a similar practice can minimize security risks in your remote work environment. A dedicated home office space and phone number for work can prevent mishaps.

If you have more than one laptop or workstation, dedicate one of them to work. Don’t use it for personal communications and web browsing. If you don’t have an extra device, check whether your company can provide one or provide you with virtual desktops to log into for work. This makes sure that potential infections don’t spill from your personal life into your professional life or vice versa.

Use VPN on the device you use for work. It will shield your network traffic by encrypting it. This prevents potentially insecure devices on your home network from being used to spy on your work activity. If your organization has its own corporate VPN, you will probably be required to use it to access your company’s servers and applications.

Also, consider using an encrypted communication service like Signal for having digital communications with coworkers. Signal offers end-to-end encrypted messaging, as well as voice and video calls. Security experts recommend Signal because it is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that no one but your device and conversational partner’s device can read the messages you send. The team behind the software is a privacy centred nonprofit organization funded by grants and donations.

Perhaps most importantly, Signal is open source, meaning that the code is publicly available for review. It can be examined for potential security risks, and has stood up to auditing. All of these features make Signal the best option for boosting your communication security.

Signal is completely free to use and available for Android, iOS, and desktop. Along with the extra security protocols, it includes all of the basic messaging tools you’re going to need, including read receipts, emoji support, group chats, and voice and video calls.

Like WhatsApp, Signal uses your mobile number to identify you to your contacts, so there are no new usernames or passwords to remember, and you can dive straight in. On Android, you can also use Signal to send normal SMS and MMS messages to contacts who don’t have the app installed.

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