Staying Safe In a Work From Home Environment: A Guide
People have been working from home ever since the coronavirus became a pandemic – and while working from home certainly has its upsides, staying safe while working remotely has never been more important. In this blog, we will provide a guide on how you should go about staying safe when working from home. Let’s get started, should we?
Take Care of The Basics First
As with everything, when working from home one should take care of the basic necessities first. Make sure you maintain proper posture, and above all else, pay careful attention to the positioning of your head, neck, legs, and arms, make sure to take breaks, avoid distractions, avoid glare, make sure your room is lit if necessary if you’re working in the evening, and don’t ignore the discomfort. These things may seem basic, but you might be surprised how many people ignore basic things like these and put performance above all else, and then are surprised their health has deteriorated. Staying healthy should always come as a first priority.
Safety Offline & Online
After you’ve taken care of your basic necessities including your health, it’s time to make sure you stay safe online. Start off by securing your home office – close all of the windows if necessary to avoid people peeking into your computer from outside, then secure your home network by:
- Using software that protects you from malicious programs – use antivirus software to protect your computer to prevent malicious actors from peeking into your private and work life, some might also consider anti-loggers (anti-loggers differ from antiviruses by acting as a medium that protects you from keyloggers, zero-day exploits, and providing ransomware protection – some software solutions provide it all in real-time too.
- Keep your operating system and all software related to work up-to-date: we can’t stress this point enough. Keeping your operating system and software up-to-date helps you avoid prominent threats targeting your PC. Combining it all with anti-malware or anti-logger solutions (see point above) will create a good starting point.
- Use secure Wi-Fi networks and take care of the security of your network: if possible, work from home and not from a cafeteria, but if necessary, ensure you’re using a secured Wi-Fi network so that attackers cannot gain access to the network you’re using and disrupt your communications. Also, consider using VPN solutions to encrypt your network traffic where necessary.
- Use a password manager. Password managers like 1Password and LastPass protect all of your secrets in one vault that can be accessed with one password – by using industry-standard security measures, password managers help you save the hassle of remembering different passwords to log in to the various applications you find yourself using. The majority of password managers also help keep notes and even credit cards in one safe place: we’ve already dug into password managers and their security practices in one of our previous blog posts about web application security solutions, so if you’re interested to know more about them, definitely give that blog post a read!
- Avoid sharing too many details on your screen – if you’re in a Slack call with your colleagues, it’s inevitable that at a given time you will need to share your screen; avoid oversharing – that might mean closing down unnecessary apps before you start sharing, or not using them while working at all.
- Consider video-calling using encrypted platforms or only meet your colleagues using on password-protected platforms: ever since remote work was around, video calls using Zoom started getting hijacked at a much higher degree than before. Putting a password on your call or calling your teammates through WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, or other platforms will render attacker attempts to hijack a group call obsolete.
- Beware of phishing – when working from home, you will mostly use Slack, Zoom, and email services. Attackers are well aware of that – some nefarious parties will definitely try to make you fall victim to phishing attacks by sending letters forwarded to the company mail. Once you receive an “interesting-looking” email, it is best to forward it to the security crew within your company and avoid doing anything with it yourself.
- Avoid oversharing details on social media – attackers targeting you as a person will inevitably try to scour through your social media profiles; the less you share on socials, the better. If you must share something sensitive, only share it with your friends and avoid making information visible to everyone.
- Avoid oversharing details with your colleagues or clients – in the unlikely case your company falls prey to a data breach, the attackers will archive everything they access: your extremely sensitive messages sent to a colleague that might have your address in it, etc. Follow the security policies of your company and never share something unnecessary.
- Follow your local government websites like CERT and the like: advice contained in the websites centered around cyber security, but belonging to the government (e.g. Canada’s GetCyberSafe) will help keep you, your network, and your loved ones safe.
- Finally, take care of the security of your accounts: the search engine provided by BreachDirectory will help you identify where your account details have been leaked, and the BreachDirectory API service will help you secure both your team and yourself at a deeper level: as of recently, BreachDirectory has also introduced an enterprise option of their API offering, meaning that the BreachDirectory API can not only be useful for queries against a single account but also queries against multiple accounts as well. Bulk account security scanner in an API format, if you will.
Staying safe while working from home has never been so important as it is now; keep this guide handy and glance at it every once in a while to stay safe while working remotely, make sure to secure your teammates and loved ones by using the BreachDirectory API and its search engine, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and until next time!