The Remote Worker’s Guide to Cybersecurity

The convenience of remote work comes with risks. Working from an office usually means using protected hardware and software. But in the case of remote work, you need to take cybersecurity into your own hands.

Since getting hacked is something most people can’t afford nowadays, let’s talk about the security measures you can take right now to protect your remote office.

Don’t leave your devices out of sight

If you travel a lot and have to find workspaces in unconventional settings (coffee shops, airports, b&bs, etc.), you need to think about the physical protection of your work devices. If you have to leave the room, either bring your device along or lock it. The former option is preferable because people can still steal your laptop, even if it’s locked.

On the other hand, if you don’t live alone and have to work from home, locking your devices will save you lots of trouble in the future. You don’t want anyone meddling with your work stuff, even by accident.

Be careful on public WiFi

Working from remote locations often means using public WiFi. The thing is, places with good free WiFi are known to hackers and scammers as well. They can infiltrate a public network and spy on anybody who connects to it. This means that if you connect to a public network with a hacker on the other end and use it for sensitive tasks such as banking, the hacker may be able to extract your login credentials.

If you absolutely must send/receive delicate info over public WiFi, make sure you use encryption, which will be covered in the next point.

Use encryption

Encryption will scramble your information so that it’s ineligible to hackers. There are many ways to encrypt your data. For instance, if you use a Mac, you can store your data safely in a special Mac encryption app. This way, your data is protected, and even if your WiFi connection is intercepted, the encryption blocks the culprit from reading it.

You can also safeguard your internet presence on public networks with a VPN. While this may slow down your internet speed, you’ll get to hide your activity from anyone that might be listening in.

Keep your apps updated

This is an often-overlooked cybersecurity measure that you absolutely must start following if you’re working remotely. Big updates (e.g., OS updates) most often carry important security patches for your devices. No matter how tiresome it is to click and wait through the update process, you need to make it a habit.

Most apps update automatically, so checking on the rest shouldn’t be a hassle anyway.

Set up your router

This goes out to all WHF people out there. If you’ve switched to a home office, you should set up your router to be as secure as possible. Most routers come with a minimal setup while they actually have good cybersecurity measures of their own.

First, access your router and enable WPA2 encryption. Also, consider creating a guest network while you’re setting it up. This way, people with potentially infected devices can’t hurt your workstation even if they connect to your WiFi.

Cybersecurity is about being prepared

There’s more to cybersecurity than just what we talked about, especially for remote workers. But with security habits like these, you’ll be safe from the vast majority of internet threats out there.

It’s best not to guess what would happen if you got hacked out of your accounts or got your credit card stolen through public WiFi. Protect yourself and enjoy your work away from work.