Service: Human resources

Topic: Coronavirus

Reducing the cyber risk of working from home

By Carl Lundberg

02 Jun 2020

As many businesses have been unexpectedly forced to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some do not have the same secure networks and firewalls, posing a risk to the security of your data. 

Therefore, we need to be more vigilant. Below are some tips which will help to reduce the risks of remote working.

Antivirus software 

Whether your team is accessing your network through remote access on personal computers or using work computers, all employees should have antivirus software to prevent malware from damaging your device or obtaining confidential data. 

At Gerald Edelman, we receive security software from Oosha, our IT support provider. There are also a number of free resources that you can use. We suggest MalwareBytes to scan for potential threats and AVG for basic virus protection.

Ensure your software is up to date 

Software providers regularly update their programmes as they discover bugs or weaknesses, which criminals can exploit to gain access to your network or data. You must ensure all programmes are up to date and can do so automatically by enabling auto updates.

Ensure your home network is secure

Something a little less obvious is that your WiFi router should be protected by two passwords: 

  1. Admin password – this allows you to access the configuration of the router, such as enabling the firewall. Without a password, anyone can access this and make changes.
  2. WiFi encryption password – your usual password to connect your wireless devices. 

If your router was provided by an internet service provider, such as BT or Sky, it is likely that both passwords are already set up. This can usually be found on the bottom of the WiFi box, alongside the encryption password.

However, if your WiFi was purchased ‘off the shelf’, it is likely that the default settings are not secure and an attacker could access your data. It is worth double checking this to ensure you are adequately protected.  

Be mindful when sharing your screen

Whether you have a client or internal meeting, be mindful of the windows and documents that you have open when you are sharing your screen on video conferences. If you have confidential information open on your desktop, you may mistakenly show this, which can raise a privacy issue. 

Teams and Zoom have the capability to share specific applications, rather than sharing the whole desktop (as seen in the image below). But if you are unsure, the safest option is to ensure you close those confidential documents before sharing in a meeting.

Beware of scams

Unfortunately, criminals have exploited the Covid-19 pandemic, taking advantage of vulnerable people and increasing phishing and scams. Spam filters should capture most phishing emails, but some can slip through, so it is important to be aware.

As experts always advise: do not click on links or attachments within suspicious emails, report emails that you suspect are part of scam campaigns and do not share any personal information via email.

Ensure you send sensitive information securely 

If you need to send any sensitive information, it is vital that you send it securely with threat protection. At Gerald Edelman, we use Mimecast to ensure any sensitive information is sent in a secure manner. For lower cost or free options, those with access to cloud-based sharing applications, such as OneDrive, DropBox or GoogleDrive, can securely share files by using password protection or allocating access to the recipient only. 

Safeguarding sensitive date

If you are working with sensitive data, it is ideal to keep this within your employer’s server, i.e. through a remote desktop session. However, as this may not always be possible, you must immediately delete this information once you have completed your task and ensure your computer is password protected.

For further information or advice on any of the above topics, please contact Radley at rjacobs@geraldedelman.com
 

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