During the last decade, working from home and remote has become a popular option for thousands of full-time employees. But nothing else could have made remote working a new way of working as the coronavirus pandemic did. The resulting lockdown around the world forced every big and small corporation to send their employees on full-time work from home (WFH). This turned into new work culture, and many companies have sent their employees on permanent WFH. But it does expose the staff and the organization itself to new vulnerabilities.
Given this sensitive situation, there is a need to secure the system while working from home. Since the pandemic opened a Pandora’s box of opportunities for cybercriminals and fraudsters, every company and employee must put extra effort to keep remote cyber security in mind.
Here are some security tips for work from home employees.
Securing the home office
Before getting to online security, let’s focus on the physical security of your home office. Like your office janitor locks your office, you should follow the same step when working at home. Burglary can happen any time without warning, and you can lose your laptop from your living room, bedroom, or home office.
Whenever you have to get away from your work, make sure to keep your laptop and other files at a secure location.
Securing the home router
Home routers are easy targets for cybercriminals since not many people bother to change the default password. The simple step of changing your default password to something else can pay you invisible dividends. It makes the life of those thugs trying to access your device a lot complicated.
On top of this, you can install necessary firmware updates whenever you get the notification to close the door on vulnerability exploitation.
Encryption reduces the risk of a stolen or lost device as no stranger can access the content on your device without a password or PIN. So, if your employer has forgotten to turn on the encryption, you should do it.
To give you an idea, encryption means to encode critical information such that only those with proper authorization can access it. While it cannot prevent critical cyber attacks, it does hamper data interception.
Supported Operating Systems
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list keeps getting new vulnerabilities and exploits daily. These exploits affect the operating systems that receive no support from their developers anymore. Since supporting and updating all the versions is a costly affair for developers, they only support the last major versions.
These unsupported versions still in use do not receive any security patches, and it slowly opens the door for data theft or cyber-attacks.
Check your operating system for system support and security updates.
- macOS: Apple has never released any official policies for macOS. However, the previous pattern shows that Apple has always supported the last three macOS versions. Since Apple releases a new macOS version every year, there is a chance each macOS version will receive at least three years of support.
- Windows: You can check the Windows lifecycle fact sheet.
- Linux: The developers support most of the active distributions.
Separating your work and personal devices
When working from home, you need to define boundaries between your work and home life. You may find switching between your devices cumbersome, but it’s best to keep your work and home computers separately.
While work from home is a great concept, sending the whole staff on remote work puts a lot of security pressure. And since the pandemic turned the world upside-down in a blink, businesses had less time to prepare themselves. For employees in the financial sector, it means carrying out customer onboarding and KYC from their homes. You can read more about KYC here.