COVID-19: WEEKLY TIP #2
Is It Safe to Work from Home On Your Personal Device?
Most employees are required to work from home these days, and their mindset may be, "I may as well use my device such as a home computer." Using your personal device is a dangerous mistake.
Home computers and any personal device an employee owns is potentially littered with tons of downloaded music, videos, images, and more. Because your device is more exposed compared to a company protected device, it can invite malware into your business network.
Quick Look at What a Malware Attack Is:
Malicious code comes in the form of viruses, worms, and bots that will disrupt your service, steal your sensitive information, and may allow access to your private computer systems.
Trojans continued to be the primary source of malware (51.45%), comfortably positioned ahead of the rest of the collected samples: viruses (22.79%), followed by worms (13.22%), PUPs (10.71%), and cases of Spyware (1.83%).
According to data collected by Symantec, April is a popular month for malware attacks. On average, these attacks hit a peak in February and run until April. And, 230,000 new malware samples are produced on a daily basis and that number will continue to grow.
How to Avoid Malware on Your Computer
To reduce your risk of downloading malware practice the advice outlined by the Federal Trade Commission:
- Install and update security software and use a firewall. Set your security software, internet browser, and operating system (like Windows or Mac OS X) to update automatically.
- Don't change your browser's security settings. You can minimize "drive-by" or bundled downloads if you keep your browser's default security settings.
- Pay attention to your browser's security warnings. Many browsers come with built-in security scanners that warn you before you visit an infected webpage or download a malicious file.
- Don't click on a link in an email; type the URL of a trusted site directly into your browser. Criminals send emails that appear to be from companies you know and trust. The links may look legitimate, but clicking on them could download malware or send you to a scam site.
- Don't open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is. Opening the wrong attachment — even if it seems to be from friends or family — can install malware on your computer.
- Get well-known software directly from the source. Sites that offer lots of different browsers, PDF readers and other popular software for free are more likely to include malware.
- Read each screen when installing new software. If you don't recognize a program or are prompted to install additional "bundled" software, decline the additional program or exit the installation process.
- Don't click on pop-ups or banner ads about your computer's performance. Scammers insert unwanted software into banner ads that look legitimate, especially ads about your computer's health. Avoid clicking on these ads if you don't know the source.
- Scan USBs and other external devices before using them. These devices can be infected with malware, primarily if you use them in high traffic places, like photo printing stations or public computers.
- Talk about safe computing. Tell your friends and family that some online actions can put the computer at risk: clicking on pop-ups, downloading "free" games or programs, opening chain emails, or posting personal information.
- Back up your data regularly. Whether it's your taxes, photos, or other documents that are important to you, back up any data that you'd want to keep in case your computer crashes.
Technology Best Practices for Businesses
It's in everyone's best interest to protect the company against malware attacks because the damage can be devastating. The following options to combat a malware attack is crucial to your businesses success:
- Secure your Network: Have a firewall in place to safeguard and monitor access to your network.
- Install Antivirus, Anti-Malware, and Anti-Ransomware Software: Multiple layers of security will allow for another software's weakness and provide a stronger defense against an attack.
- Regularly Update your Systems, Software, and Applications: Unpatched holes may allow hackers to inject dangerous malware. Avoid this by continually updating your applications to decrease your odds of an attack.
- Utilize Encryption Software: Always have a backup plan in place! When your data is encrypted, a hacker will not be able to translate and, therefore, won't be able to steal your information.
- Education and Training: When your staff can identify an attack, they are far less likely to become a victim. Train your employees to recognize the signs of phishing scams and malicious links.
Technology Best Practices for Businesses With Work-from-home Employees
ONLY devices that are under our vigilant watch of patching, updating, and monitoring should be used by your employees to work remotely.
Advice 1: Provide your employees with a company-approved and secured computer/laptop for employees to use at home that is set up appropriately given the above guidelines.
Advice 2: Never allow an employee to use their personal device while working. If this is unavoidable, conduct quick training from the above-bulleted list to help inform your employees of best practices.
Safety Measures for Personal Devices
Protecting your personal information will help reduce becoming a victim of identity theft. Similar to the list a business should use to protect their computers, I've provided a list to protect your personal information. Please remember to keep the following in mind!
- Use security software
- Avoid phishing emails
- Be wise about WiFi
- Physically lock up your laptop
- Read privacy policies
- Keep passwords private
- Encrypt your data
- Don't overshare on social media sites.
Want more tips for setting up safe Work From Home networks? Check out our Work From Home Gameplan.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us.