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March 17, 2020. | Data security News Tips

Working from home securely

There has been a significant increase in malware and phishing scams associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Bad actors are taking advantage of the increased use of personal computers and devices that often do not have the security measures normally be in place at work.

If you are working from home, try to implement the following security measures.

Secure your computer

If you are working from home using your personal computer, take the following measures:

Install or keep your anti-virus up-to-date

If you do not have an anti-virus, Penta recommends that you at least install one of the following or both. If your company has a contract with Penta, we can also supply licenses and manage the installation.

Be extremely cautious with files attached in emails. Almost all malware arrives in this way.

Make sure the email is legitimate and never click on Excel or Word documents without being 100% sure of who it came from. Also, never open it from your email program. Always download it first and scan it with your anti-virus.

Lock your computer or laptop

As at work, you should be in the habit of locking your computer or laptop while it is unattended.

If your computer already has malware on it, hackers can detect and use this unattended time to run programs and access data.

To quickly lock your computer:

  • Windows key + L (PC)
  • ctrl + cmd + Q (Mac)

Configure a screensaver with a password lock

In case you haven’t locked your computer while it is unattended, configure a screensaver with a password lock so that it automatically secures your computer.

Use strong passwords for everyone

You may already be using a strong password for yourself, but if anyone else in your family is using the same computer with a weak password, your data is just as vulnerable.

Here is a good guide on what makes a strong password, but the easiest is to think of a phrase and swap out some of the letters for similar special characters or numbers.

If you have a lot of password to manage, use a password manager. We recommend KeePass for Windows and KeepassXC for Mac. Also use it to generate random secure password.

And always make sure not to use same password even twice.

Log out when you’re done

It’s tempting to leave your computer on and logged in when you stop working for the day – it’s easier to pick up where you left off.

But just as not locking your computer, it leaves your work and data vulnerable to hackers.

At the end of your day, get in the habit of shutting everything down.

When not at home

If you do work outside your home in a cafe or other public space, be particularly careful to:

  • avoid over-the-shoulder looks from strangers
  • leaving your laptop, even if it’s just to refill your coffee

Only trust information sources that you know

Be very careful not to click on links from unknown or sources that you do not trust.

Fake coronavirus applications and software

There are many new applications that pretend to offer tracking of coronavirus infections or offering helpful advice.

Do not download or install these applications unless they are from a verified source, such as government or well-known media organisations.

Conference software

There has been a proliferation of new free conference software for voice and video conferencing. Many of these are malicious and are seeking to gain access to your computer or to obtain personal information.

Only use company-approved systems, or well-known applications such as:

News sources

Don’t immediately trust news that is shared on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.

Rather rely on well-known news sources and verify any information you may hear with a trusted site such as:

Be extra vigilant

In general, be extra vigilant with anyone asking for personal information or asking for donations.

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