Given that data breaches often have devastating aftermaths, security and privacy are of almost importance for uninterrupted, safe remote work. It is in everyone’s best interest to stay out of trouble, so here are a few tips that should help:
This goes without saying, but having an antivirus that runs a real-time scan in the background and updates its database frequently is a must.
When your operating system needs to restart in order to apply updates, it is very important to do so. Failing to restart as soon as possible potentially leaves you unprotected against security vulnerabilities that would have been patched otherwise.
Even with the up-to-date system and an active antivirus protection, you should still exercise caution. Opening suspicious-looking links, visiting suspicious websites, plugging in a random thumb drive or hard disk and opening files on it are all easy ways to expose your computer to a potential threat.
Do not connect to a public Wi-Fi signal unless you absolutely have to. Connecting to an untrustworthy network means you are potentially opening yourself up for an attack from other people connected to the same network—and as if that was not bad enough—anyone could listen in on your traffic as well. A slightly safer option would be to use your personal hotspot instead, or (at the very least), a vpn service that encrypts your traffic. Another option would involve connecting to your work computer via SSH or Remote Desktop protocol, which are protocols designed to automatically encrypt data, keeping your traffic safe and away from prying eyes.
Make sure to keep your devices on you at all times, and if you are at home, make sure your doors are properly locked. The last thing you need is an experienced cybercriminal getting access to your devices and/or your devices being stolen. Either of those scenarios could result in a data breach.
If you have a company-owned computer, refrain from transferring data from it to another device. Doing this could result in confidential data being compromised, and it could present a possible, unnecessary threat, as well as liability for corporate damages.
If you are working in a public setting, be careful about letting people watch what you are doing. If there is someone behind you, they may be able to see what you are typing—or even worse—they may be able to see confidential information. This is what is called “Shoulder surfing,” and you should be mindful of this practice when working with/on any kind of important data, e.g., entering your pin at an ATM.
If you have to use a USB port that may not be trustworthy (e.g., to charge your phone), you should think twice before just plugging in. Cybercriminals will sometimes install tiny computers into the ports that automatically try to transfer data from your device or transfer malware to your device; this is what is known as juice jacking. To prevent this, you may use a USB data blocker. USB data blockers are small devices that ensure there is no data being transferred to or from your device by physically not connecting the data transfer pins, while still connecting the power ones.
The security and privacy war are never over. Devices keep getting faster and faster, allowing cyber hackers to gain access to confidential data with more and more ease. However, according to Proofpoint, more than 99 percent of data breaches in 2019 occurred due to human error, meaning that it’s very important for you to know how to conduct your business in a safe manner.