Most of us in this day and age hold jobs that we are capable of fulfilling from anywhere around the globe, as long as we have a computer and an active internet connection. Although being able to work remotely may sound attractive to most people, it has consequent security implications that most people easily ignore or are unaware of.
Personal computers and home networks are more susceptible to security concerns as opposed to corporate systems and networks. Although the computer (system) provided by your company is protected by an assortment of security protocols, you could still be vulnerable to online threats while using a home Wi-Fi network or a public hotspot.
This article will walk you through a process of 5 simple ways you can work remotely from anywhere without compromising your data.
1. Invest In Antivirus Software
The most basic precaution you can take against a hacker is getting antivirus software. Most employers provide security software on company-issued devices but it is a good idea to invest in one if you are using your personal computer. Many internet service providers offer security suites along with their connection at reasonable prices so that all their users can browse safely through the internet. Some providers even offer basic antivirus software free of cost. For example, when you subscribe to any of the Spectrum packages you will be able to access their free internet security suite on up to 10 devices at no additional cost.
Internet service providers and most employers urge their workers to use this valuable resource on their personal computers due to the advantages out-weighing the cost. It may seem to you like an extra cost but when you look at all the information that could be stolen or harmed in case of a cyber-attack you will agree that a few bucks saved each month are not worth all the risk.
2. Use Stronger Encryption
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is a Wi-Fi access point that offers an older version of standard security. It is outdated and very easily infiltrated through the use of highly accessible hacking suites like Aircrack-ng.
In order to keep intruders out of your network, one should use WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) Protection. WPA protection has different variations of security such as WPA2 and WPA2 AES. Both small businesses and households can use WPA protection with a pre-shared key. All employees or family members use this key/password and the network security depends on keeping the password within the trusted group of users.
WPA2 is an advanced version of its predecessor (WPA) and has stronger data protection and network access control. From all of the above Wi-Fi security protocols, one should always try to use WPA2 AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) which uses AES cipher to protect transmissions and the encryption method is impossible to penetrate.
3. Use A Firewall
Routers come pre-loaded with a firewall and it is worth the money to turn it on. A firewall works as a virtual filter that keeps all the unwanted traffic out of your network and keeps it secure. It is the first line of defense against attacks coming from outside the network.
Wi-Fi routers operate a system known as NAT (Network Address Translation). In simple terms, it means that the router prevents the internet from accessing the unique network address assigned to each device connected to it. Instead, it uses a generic address that is associated with the router itself, which communicates with the outside world. This process prevents intruders from identifying the addresses of individual devices, and any unwanted traffic is blocked way before it gains access to the end-user device.
A firewall has the ability to trace any suspicious activity coming in or going out of your network. If one of the applications on your computer is behaving in a manner that is compromising to the security of your network, the firewall will identify that specific application and terminate its access to sending and receiving data.
4. Update Router Firmware
For any hardware to work effectively it needs to have the latest and up-to-date software. Most routers have an automatic update protocol but if that is not the case for you, then you should make it a habit to periodically check for updates just like you change your Wi-Fi password every so often.
If you stay in-tune with the latest cybersecurity news, you should use this habit to stay on top of any new viruses that may have been developed to exploit security weaknesses. Check for your router’s firmware updates to see if the company has released any security patches to counter the new threats.
5. Practice Safe Browsing
Just like you wouldn’t visit a bad neighborhood at any given time of the day, in the same way, you should always avoid visiting sites that can potentially infiltrate your network and pose a threat to your security. Cybercriminals use different tactics to lure unsuspecting victims to certain webpages and sites to infect them with malware and steal valuable information.
Stay away from dubious content and pop-up promotions that urge you to visit a certain webpage. Opening such links results in an unauthorized intrusion into your network by hackers and other suspicious parties that may want to get access to your personal data. Practice safe browsing and do not give hackers a chance to catch you off-guard.
Make it a habit to implement all of the above methods to keep your personal and corporate data safe. Never think that it will not happen to you because that is how you get yourself included in the cybercrime statistics. Using advanced and secure technologies will help you stay secure but to make the security airtight you also have to use some common sense and intuition.
If something does not look right, it probably is not. In addition, if something looks too good to be true it probably is a scam. Now that you know better, keep your eyes open and your mind alert. Stay safe and stay happy!