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The impact of remote work on cybersecurity: tips for staying safe

21.04.2023
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The covid-19 pandemic got the whole world scrambling for safety. Lockdown policies were implemented to mitigate the spread and cure the infected. The policies indirectly prompted a 200% boost to remote work as most organisations, companies and governmental agencies switched to a remote working pattern to get things under control. That was three years ago, but most companies and government parastatals still have remote workers operating in some sectors, which above all its advantages, has created an impact on cybersecurity.

The rise in remote working has given rise to certain types of threats, which were not in existence before or are minimal. These include phishing in various forms, malware attacks and other attacks exploiting new work scenarios. The following tips will help people who work from home stay safe while they do so and reduce certain risks associated with remote working:

  • Make use of separate devices for work and personal activities and have them properly secured from external bodies, especially the working devices
  • Have antivirus software installed on each work-from-home device. This can be a built-in solution that ships with the operating system or a standalone solution. In addition, implore the services of other security products such as dedicated firewalls or other security tools
  • Keep the operating system, software and some hardware updated because most updates come with new security features absent in the outdated versions. Though most important applications and operating systems are configured to update automatically, be sure to run update checks regularly to make sure nothing is missing
  • Have your home network secured with the strongest security option available and supported by your devices. Also, use VPN if working with a public wireless connection to protect your data
  • Use strong passwords, 2-factor authentication or other advanced authentication options to secure your device. A weak or quick-to-guess password will give threat actors easy access to your accounts and sensitive files. Modern authentication options, such as using passkeys or hardware security keys, will boost your security as well
  • Educate yourself or your employees on how to dictate a malicious attack to avoid them. Phishing is one of the common attacks targeting remote workers these days, and earlier dictation will help to mitigate the consequences.

While all these tips above are the major precautionary steps, there are simpler steps that may make a difference. Using a device with a webcam lid or buying a lid will protect users from webcam spying. Remove smart devices with listening capabilities from your remote working area and have backup plans created to help recover a system if updates have an issue.