As states start to ease social-distancing measures, an increased number of employees (and students) will still continue to work from home. And with this sustained rise in working from home comes increased cyber-threats. After all, cybercriminals are at home too – and they’ve been busy coming up with new scams and exposing security vulnerabilities. Many of you wahves are already work-from-home pros, but it can’t hurt to make sure you’re following these best practices, especially now:
- Continue to be suspicious of phishing emails or texts that try to capitalize on fears related to the coronavirus. A few of the most common coronavirus scams include websites that pretend to help you work remotely, products that claim to prevent the disease, and investments that are said to be “guaranteed.” Don’t click on links or open any attachments unless they are from a known, trusted source.
- If you’re using Zoom for videoconferencing, you’ve probably heard by now that the service’s meteoric surge in users (10 million daily users in December rose to 200 million daily users recently) exposed several security vulnerabilities. Zoom has fixed many of these, but it goes without saying that you still need to be careful. For starters, keep your installation of Zoom up to date to ensure you have the most recent version with the most recent security fixes. Use passwords to protect your meetings, and never post your Zoom meeting ID online (ie: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). For more Zoom security tips, check out this recent Forbes article.
- Stay current on software updates, which help to patch security flaws and can also help protect your data.
- Use strong passphrases that you can remember, such as “I-Detest-Pandemics!!” instead of overused and easy-to-guess passwords like “abc123” or “password.” The passphrase should include numbers, special characters and upper and lowercase letters. This may seem like old advice, but according to this survey, 83% of Americans are still using weak passwords and 53% use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Make sure your home Wi-Fi is also secured with a strong passphrase. Additionally, access to the settings on your home router should be passphrase-protected. If an attacker connects to you Wi-Fi or gets inside your router, they can intercept anything you send or do online. In fact, if you’ve never changed the login or password required to enter your router settings, do it now. The default passwords that come with routers out of the box are usually weak and publicized across the Internet.
Last but not least, be continuously vigilant. Scammers often try to prey on people when they are at their most vulnerable, so now is a good time to stay aware and be smart.