When most people think cybersecurity, they often think about the software that’s installed on computers to protect against hackers and scan for breaches. While software helps to protect your company’s most valuable data assets, cybersecurity isn’t a thing, but an action. Defense against cyberattacks require the right software paired with ongoing training of everyone at your company, not just the IT team.
Now that remote work has become the norm for many businesses, this is a good time to refresh our memories on some cybersecurity best practices. In our last virtual town hall meeting with Corey Munson from PC Matic, we reviewed some of the common questions he gets about keeping remote work safe and secure.
Here’s a recap of some of those questions and answers.
If you didn’t get the chance to watch the live broadcast, watch the replay of Keeping Remote Work Safe.
Here are some of the questions we covered during the webinar:
- What should I be doing to guard against cyber threats when working from home?
- How can I improve my passwords?
- Should I use personal computers for work?
What should I be doing to guard against cyber threats when working from home?
Businesses today shouldn’t be going it alone when it comes to protecting their most valuable asset, their data. Real estate agents and title agents must be especially careful to follow cybersecurity guidelines that help prevent wire fraud.
Hopefully, you have a team of professionals to rely on. If so, the first step in protecting against cyberattacks is to listen to them and alert them of any suspicious emails or activity on your computer.
Installing antivirus software and keeping all your software applications up to date will also shore up your company’s defenses.
Always back up your work to either a cloud or an external hard drive. Ransomware attacks have been making headlines and hurting local real estate markets. In 2019, there were several instances where hackers successfully deployed programs like RobbinHood among municipal systems. Baltimore, Pensacola, New Orleans, and many other cities experienced major disruptions in their operations when their data was locked and encrypted. The hackers then sent letters demanding cryptocurrency in exchange for returning access.
When hit with this type of attack, municipalities and businesses will have to pay, whether it’s the hackers or highly trained IT professionals to investigate, recover the data (if possible) and provide better preventative measures.
Finally, stay vigilant. Cybercriminals usually succeed because they emotionally manipulate you or someone on your team to act on false information. They use fear and urgency to get people to put down their guard. Now is the time to use caution.
How can I improve my passwords?
At home, people tend to be far more lax about handing out their network password to visitors, neighbors, and friends. Security evaluations of WiFi routers have shown that some basic security shortcomings by letting consumers use weak passwords and a few didn’t allow the creation of strong passwords because they didn’t support long strings of characters or special characters.
Everyone should create unique and strong passwords if their router permits it. Unfortunately, a 2019 survey of 1,006 American adults showed that only 38% said they or someone in their household had changed their current router’s default password.
While working at home, research your brand of router or contact your internet provider to learn more about changing passwords for your home WiFi network.
Three tips for better passwords include:
- Change them frequently
- Use pass phrases with special characters or misspelled words
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication on all your accounts, even social media accounts
- Don’t store passwords on your computer’s browser
Be sure to check the device list to see who is connecting to your WiFi through your router’s web interface. Remember that multiple devices used by your family will be connecting to your WiFi that includes smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, printers, and more, so be sure to also take inventory of the household devices and their names that should be on the list.
Should I use personal computers for work?
Ideally, there would be no need to use any device other than your work-issued computer, but Corey encourages people to clean it up first and install antivirus software and continue to use caution when browsing the internet and opening emails.
However, Corey advises to never use a work computer for personal use.
In our 30 minute webinar, Corey and I discussed several other topics related to cybersecurity including how to make Zoom meetings safer. You can catch the replay of Keeping Remote Work Safe here.
Our entire series of virtual town hall meetings is also available for you to watch anytime.
The whole world is experiencing a health and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. While communities and businesses struggle to keep their residents and employees safe, there are some people who see this time of uncertainty as an opportunity to exploit and prey upon people’s anxieties.
Now, more than ever, is the time to be vigilant and remember that cybersecurity is a process that relies on every member of your team. Remember these tips and share them with everyone you know.