In the midst of a virus crisis: Focus on IT security when working from home

Corona presents many challenges – all around. Many of us now have to work from home, the best we can. This presents a number of new challenges for IT security.

Flexible working hours and working from home a few days a week have become more common, and some have reduced their travel for environmental reasons. But for many of us, the corona crisis creates a whole new and unfamiliar situation – and that makes us vulnerable.

It aggravates the general problem of hackers and cybercriminals trying to exploit us and in an inattentive or distracted moment, we can fall into one of their cunning traps.

Corona-related problems can be used to trick you because the problems are unusual and need to be taken seriously. It is important that we follow the advice of the authorities. But what if the email or text message you respond to doesn’t actually come from the authorities?

Digital virus in the shade of the corona

CEO-fraud and ransomware attacks are likely to occur more often than ever in the near future, warns both the Danish Center for Cyber Security and the BBC.

It is at times like this that we must make extra efforts to ensure that nothing goes wrong. So what can you do?

Here are some tips:

• Confirm information if you have the slightest suspicion that it does not come from a colleague, manager or relatives by calling or texting back the number you have for the person in your phone.

• Do not respond to an inquiry unless you have the time and opportunity to investigate and confirm that it is genuine.

• Also, keep in mind that data protection rules still apply, notwithstanding that we are in an exceptional situation. Sensitive data is still sensitive in a coronavirus age, and the normal rules for protecting the assets of the company are still valid.

• Avoid papers with confidential information at home – all papers, notes and any “sticky notes” must be disposed of securely. Store them in a safe place until you can shred them at the office.

• Don’t make phone calls with customers or work colleagues near your family.

• Decorate a small office area so you can work and talk undisturbed.

• Be very careful about using your personal computer, tablet and phone for work purposes. Only visit work-related websites. Contact your employer to hear about the guidelines. One of the most important is that you do not let your children, friends or family use the IT equipment that you have been provided at your workplace. And avoid using your work computer to browse the web and online games.

• Do not install programs or connect equipment that is not work related to your computer.

• When you move outside and want to connect to a free wi-fi network, use a VPN. No VNP, no free wi-fi.

• Depending on the type of connection you have to your workplace, it may be important that you log on to VPN before logging on to Windows so that you have a secure connection right from the start and that all your programs work just like in the workplace. If your computer is on standby or VPN is disconnected, the same principle applies: restart your computer and log on to the VPN before logging on to Windows again.

• Remember all the other good safety precautions – such as locking your computer every time you leave it

• Enter the support phone number into your phone so that you have it handy if you have problems, for example, lock yourself out of your computer.

• Contact Support if you suspect that your computer is behaving strangely.

Remember to think about IT security, even if you sit and work in cozy, homely surroundings.

Get in touch with us if you would like the full 4-minute video or e-learning package for your employees.

jonathan@geelongmedia.com.au