Maintaining your cyber security while working from home, especially from a personal device, is of paramount importance. Not only could your personal information be compromised, but security breaches can jeopardize entire companies. No one wants to risk their information being stolen. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to help protect yourself and your business.
Protect Your Passwords
Compromised passwords are one of the biggest threats to cyber security, so it’s important to maintain good digital hygiene with your passwords. Following these few tips can help keep your passwords safe:
Use a Complicated Password
While you may be tempted to choose something memorable, such as a birth date or a first pet’s name, passwords that are easy to remember are easy to crack. In 2020 most MSPs recommend that passwords be at least twenty characters long and contain numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters (where allowed).
Never Reuse Passwords
We’ve all heard this before, and yet some technology users are still tempted to use one password for multiple accounts. It is important to use a different password for every account so that in the event that one is compromised, you won’t lose access to everything.
Use a Password Keeper
Remembering all those unique and complicated passwords would be nearly impossible, and carrying written passwords everywhere you go isn’t any safer than having an easy password or one used among multiple accounts. Instead, use a password keeper, which will encrypt and store your passwords for you. We recommend trying LastPass.
Dodge Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a technique used by cyber-criminals to impersonate a legitimate institution in order to get private information from unwary victims. Phishing attacks can occur via phone, text, or most commonly, email. The only way to avoid these attacks is to recognize them as what they are. Here’s how to recognize a phishing email:
Check the Sender’s Email Address
If you receive an email from a sender you haven’t communicated with before or don’t recognize, beware. Always check the email address, not just the name that shows up in your inbox view. If the name is something normal (“John Doe”) but the email address is “[email protected]” you may be looking at a phishing attempt.
Don’t Be Fooled by Official Logos
It’s easy enough to look up an Amazon logo in Google Images and illegally use it in an email to entice people into thinking the email is legitimate. Official emails from established companies will always come from a company email address, never from a personal one.
Pay Attention to Spelling & Grammar Errors
Many times (though not always) phishing emails will contain a plethora of spelling errors in the body text of the email. Some sentences may not even make complete sense. This can be one of the first and most noticeable signs that the email you’ve received is a phishing attempt.
Beware of Links in the Email
Never click on a link in an email you suspect to be a phishing attempt. Even if you think there’s a chance the email may be legitimate, it’s much safer to contact a company through an official contact method found on their website rather than follow a suspicious link. Phishing links can lead you to websites that will try to steal your information, or even download malware onto your computer.
Beware of Phone Numbers in the Email
Some phishing emails even provide a phone number to call for those that don’t want to click a link. This can lead to stealing your information over the phone. If you are really concerned the email may be legitimate, contact the company through an official channel, not one provided in the suspicious email.
Use AntiVirus Protection for Your Device
Protecting your device with antivirus software is of the utmost importance. Antivirus software helps keep your personal information secure, and also sensitive business information if you have it on your personal computer.
There is a wide range of malware that can infect your computer, sometimes without your even realizing it has been infected. Antivirus software will attempt to block malware installations from malicious sources. You can also set your antivirus program to regularly scan your device for suspicious applications and files.
Here are some popular antivirus programs you can use to protect your device:
Bitdefender is an excellent antivirus software. They offer both free and paid plans depending on the level of protection you want. Their malware detection engine is highly touted, which makes both their paid and free options popular choices for protecting your devices.
Check out Bitdefender.
Avast also offers free and paid plans. The free plan has a lot of extra features (including a password manager) compared to other free antivirus software. However, users should be aware that Avast Free Antivirus prompts often (very often) to upgrade to the paid plan, which can annoy some users.
Check out Avast.
Malwarebytes also offers free and paid plans. However, users should note that a free option is not currently available for the entire antivirus software, only for the malware-removal tool. This makes the free tool an excellent option to use alongside your antivirus software.
Check out Malwarebytes.
! – Think your device is already infected? Contact tekRESCUE to speak to an IT technician who can help.
In closing, keeping your technology secure is important, especially while so many employees are working from home for the first time. Small slip ups can lead to huge security breaches for large and small businesses. Keeping your passwords safe, avoiding phishing attempts, and protecting your information with antivirus software will help prevent these security issues.
Ready to take your device and network security to the next level? Contact tekRESCUE to learn about our managed IT solutions for keeping your business safe.