“In a regular office, most companies make sure to protect their devices and networks,” says Stephen Hyduchak, CEO of Aver (www.goaver.com), an identity-verification service. “But system administrators aren’t coming out to every employee’s home and setting everything up to keep with corporate standards.
“Therefore, it’s incumbent on the workforce when working from home to know how to protect their computer system and be thorough about it. Because if a confidential document somehow gets leaked from your home computer, you’re in a bad spot with your company.”
Hyduchak suggests these security tips when working remotely:
Change the router login and password. This is a must because the default passwords for many models are weak and also known across the internet, Hyduchak says. “Attackers often simply write them into the code of malicious programs,” Hyduchak says. “And if they work, the router is captured. The intruders can also spy on you, because everything that you send online passes through the router.”
Protect with an antivirus solution. “Companies often install powerful security solutions to protect computers from malware,” Hyduchak says. “At home, it is trickier to provide that level of protection, but leaving a computer vulnerable when work documents are stored there is not an option. It’s vital to install a reliable security solution on all devices that handle corporate data. Even a free antivirus will significantly reduce the risk of getting infected.”
Configure a Wi-Fi encryption. “An attacker connecting to your Wi-Fi can intercept everything you send or enter online, including passwords for remote access to an office-based computer or corporate mail,” Hyduchak says. “So it’s essential to configure your network connection correctly. Make sure that the connection is encrypted to keep information safe from prying eyes. If your Wi-Fi asks anyone connecting to it for a password, the connection is encrypted. You can use the router settings to select or change the type of encryption, and remember that your Wi-Fi password should be strong.”
Update programs and operating systems. “Because new vulnerabilities are frequently being found in operating systems and applications, cybercriminals exploit them to invade other people’s devices,” Hyduchak says. “They often rely on people being too lazy to update software. It’s vital to regularly update everything installed on any device that you use for work purposes.”
Stay vigilant. Sometimes a malicious message can sneak into corporate mail. This is especially relevant to remote workers, because the amount of digital communications increases sharply with telecommuting. “Read messages carefully and don’t rush to respond to them,” Hyduchak says. “If someone urgently needs an important document or demands immediate payment of an invoice, double-check that the someone is who they claim to be. Call the other party for clarification, or confirm the action with your boss. And be especially suspicious of emails with links. If a link to a supposed document does not point to a corporate resource, better to ignore it.”
“Not every organization was prepared for this remote working scenario,” Hyduchak says. “Your system may require additional security software now that it has left the safer environment of your organization’s network. Check with your IT department on whether you should install additional solutions.”
Stephen Hyduchak is the CEO of Aver (www.goaver.com), an identity-verification service. Hyduchak worked in corporate finance for companies such as PRA Health Sciences before finding the entrepreneur bug. He began working on media and design for small businesses, which led him to consulting projects in the blockchain space, and eventually to founding Aver.