Cybersecurity Guidelines for Working From Home

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It may be that you’re planning to go back to an office that’s not your dining room table in the near future. Or it may be that you can’t remember why you thought working from home was not for you, and you are going to keep working remotely. Here’s a checklist to keep your remote computing secure.

First, make sure your home wireless network and the cable or DSL modem that powers it are secure. This means not only having a password for anyone accessing your home WiFi, but changing the administrator password on the wireless router. You will probably need to access the manufacturer’s website to find out how to do this. It’s necessary because if the default password allows someone logging as “administrator” or “admin” complete access, and it is accessible from the internet, bad guys can log in. They can not only see what you’re doing, but could control or lock out all the devices on your home network.

The second thing to do to secure things is a habit you need to acquire. That’s locking your screen when you step away from the computer. The keystrokes to do this are Command+Control+Q (Mac) and Windows logo key+L (Windows). By getting into this habit, you can ensure no one who isn’t authorized to view your remote work can do so inadvertently. 

Another habit to acquire is keeping work technology separate from home technology. Don’t use a personally-owned computer for work tasks. It may not have adequate security precautions in place, and that could make it more susceptible to hacking. 

Keep up to date on the latest cybersecurity news. Subscribe to a daily news digest by searching for “daily cybersecurity news digest” online. Find one that gives you consumer-level reporting rather than in-depth details of security problems. You want to know what tactics to watch out for, how to secure your technology against threats, and news of breaches that might affect your personal information.

Always keep your devices and accounts current to avoid existing & future cybersecurity threats. Configure Windows Update, Mac OS System Updates and application update apps so that your devices and software are up-to-date without you having to check for new versions. Most of these upgrades plug security vulnerabilities as they are discovered, so staying current is vital to online safety.

When computing remotely, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Your work may require one, but if not, there are a multitude of inexpensive packages you can buy. A VPN encrypts your network traffic so that anyone snooping on your connection to the internet cannot decipher what you’re sending and receiving. Set your VPN so that it starts automatically when you boot your computer, and you won’t have to worry if it’s on or not.

If your home work environment sometimes gets a little noisy, and you’re tempted to work at a site offering free Wi-Fi, be sure to use a VPN after connecting to the free wireless. This will ensure your data cannot be intercepted or read in transit.

Finally, when all these precautions begin to weigh on you, remember to just take a break from electronics. Lock your screen or power down your computer and take a technology-free walk. 

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