Protect yourself from cyber threats when working from home

5 minute read Published on Oct 25, 2021 by BrokerLink Communications

Protect yourself from cyber threats when working from home

More people are working from home than ever! There are many advantages to working from home, for example: you don’t have to commute, you can work in your pyjamas and there’s the added bonus of cuddle time with your dog or cat.

It’s important to note that even while working from home, you and your business are at risk of cyber threats. Criminals, including cyber criminals, are aware that more people are working from home, and they are doing everything they can to exploit that.

In this article, we’ll explain why cyber security is as important while working from home as it is in the office. We’ll go over some of the risks you could face and discuss what you can do to prevent cyber attacks. Keep reading to learn more!

Why work from home staff and employers are vulnerable to cyber threats

In the office, there are many cyber security measures in place. However, your home internet connection might not be as secure. This means it’s easier for criminals to access your company’s network. People working from home are using different tools to connect with each other, including video conference tools and instant messaging platforms. These tools and platforms aren’t always built with security in mind, so they offer another way for cyber criminals to infiltrate.

Potential cyber threats to working from home

The threats you face while working from home are similar to those faced by organizations. It’s important to understand what they are so you have a better understanding of how you can prevent them. Here’s a list of the most common cyber threats:

Malware

What exactly is malware? Malware is a blanket term for computer software designed with malicious intent. (It’s actually a combination of the words malicious and software.) Malware is designed to damage a computer, server or network.

Spyware

This is a specific type of malware that’s used to steal sensitive or private information.

Worms

A worm is a type of computer virus. It copies itself on its own and spreads to multiple computers via a network. A worm can cause your computer to slow down and use up your system’s resources.

Trojan Horse

A Trojan Horse is not a virus. It enters your computer by appearing legitimate. It gives cyber criminals access to your system and puts confidential information at risk.

Phishing scams

Phishing is a type of social engineering you may have experienced. It’s when criminals pose as a legitimate source, such as your bank or credit card company to try to steal sensitive information like your financial details. Most phishing scams are sent by email, but criminals also attempt to phish over the phone. Some phishing emails are obviously fake, but they are getting more sophisticated, so treat all emails with a dose of skepticism.

Tips to prevent cyber threats when working from home

It’s important to take all the necessary precautions against cyber criminals when working from home. Here are a few things you can do:

Create strong passwords

Your passwords should be at least 12 characters long, with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters. Avoid common passwords like password, 123456 and letmein.

Secure your home router

Your home router could be vulnerable to an attack from a cyber criminal. Make sure you change the password from the default. Also, be sure your wifi network name doesn’t identify you. For example, if you live in apartment 7A, don’t name it TheCoolPeopleIn7A.

Keep your work and personal devices separate

Balancing work and life can be more challenging when you’re working from home. Keeping your work and personal devices separate will help reduce the damage if either device is compromised. Work on your work device, and keep internet shopping, social media and paying your bills on your personal devices.

Keep your devices and operating systems up-to-date

You will usually get a notification when an update is ready for your device. Don’t ignore it! Follow the instructions – usually you just have to restart your device. Updates include security updates and help protect you from cyber attacks.

Invest in cyber security training

Depending on the size of your business, you may need to invest in a cyber security training program for you and your employees. If you already have an IT department, work with them to educate yourself and your team.

If your business is too small to warrant a dedicated IT department, you can outsource training, or take a course. Knowledge is one of the most important tools to prevent cyber crime. If you understand the risks, you’ll be better prepared to avoid them.

Contact BrokerLink Insurance for cyber insurance

Now that you know the risks and a few things you can do to prevent them, the next step is getting the right insurance. Cyber insurance is the safety net you can rely on if your preventative measures have failed you. A BrokerLink insurance advisor can help you find the right insurance that will help protect your business.

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FAQs about how to protect yourself from cyber threats when working from home

Does cyber security require coding?

Basic cyber security does not require coding. From a cyber security perspective, you won’t need to learn how to code unless you’re interested in a career in cyber security or IT.

What is the most effective way to protect yourself from cyber threats?

There are many ways to protect yourself from cyber threats. One way is through education and training. Learning as much as possible about cyber security and staying up-to-date with changing technology is a great way to stay a step ahead of cyber criminals.

How should you promote cyber security in the workplace?

Make cyber security a priority by discussing it with your team. Make sure everyone understands that it’s a team effort: we all have a role to play in cyber security. Promote security training that’s mandatory for all employees. Be consistent with your cyber security rules and make sure they apply to everyone. Finally, keep the lines of communication open. Let your employees know they can come to you with questions, comments and suggestions.