How to Avoid Cybersecurity Threats While Working Remotely

With the entire country is in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been ordered to move most of their employees to remote work. 

Because of this huge shift, a new problem is arising. Most home-based WiFi networks do not have the same level of security as offices and are more susceptible to hacking and data breaches. Some companies are also protecting their assets with Cyber Liability Insurance.


If your company has gone remote during the COVID-19 lockdown, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risks of cyber-hacking.

1) Beware of COVID-19 Phishing Emails

Sadly, many cybercriminals are trying to exploit people’s desire for current health and safety information as a way to attack their networks. 

Most commonly, attackers are using COVID-19-themed phishing emails. Phishing is when an email purports to deliver official information on the virus, to lure people into clicking a malicious link. Once clicked, this link will download Remote Administration Tools (RATs) on their devices, and give access to the criminals to access their personal information and accounts.

Another way that phishing happens is through fake email accounts from your contacts. You might receive an email from someone you know, with a strange message asking you to click a link.

It’s essential whenever you receive a strange message to make sure you check the email address it is coming from. Mark them as spam to block the hacker from sending future emails to your account.

2) Tighten Up Unsecured Networks

Some hackers are also taking advantage of the lack of high-level secured networks. Many people who are working from home have not applied the same security on their networks that are usually in place in a corporate environment. 

Sometimes this isn’t the fault of the individual. The enterprises they work for haven’t setup the right technologies to ensure that all company-owned or managed devices have the same security protections. All company hardware should have security safeguards regardless of whether they’re connected to an office network or an open home WiFi network.

One simple way to reduce risks is to change the name of your WiFi. Changing your WiFi’s default name makes it much harder for hackers to know what type of router you have in your home. If a cybercriminal knows the manufacturer name of your router, they can also figure out the vulnerabilities that the model has to try to exploit them.

Also, make your WiFi password longer than the standard. A good WiFi password should be at least 20 characters long. Is should include numbers, letters, and symbols. Here is a helpful guide to setting up a strong password for your home WiFi network. 

3) Setup a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

One of the easiest ways to lower the cyber hacking risks while working remotely is to set up and use a virtual private network (VPN) that allows for secure online connections. 

VPNs create an encrypted online connection between employees and the company files. They make it easy to access online databases, and for secure access to corporate tools. Corporate VPNs can also provide additional protection against phishing scams and malware attacks, so they are a valuable tool to add to your business.

If you want to know more about setting up a VPN, here is an online guide to VPNs explaining everything you need to get started.

4) Ensure all Software and Firmware is Updated

All computer software programs get outdated as time goes on. In terms of different types of programs, there are two:

Software – these are programs that run on your computer. These are not essential for your computer to run, but are needed for daily work and internet use.

Firmware – these programs are built into a piece of hardware. They can be upgraded or replaced, but are an essential part of the device. Keyboards, video cards, routers, webcams, motherboards, etc. all have firmware.

To manage cybersecurity risks, it’s crucial to ensure all software and firmware is current and continually updated. This process can be as simple as checking for updates for all programs on your computer, or online. Pay special attention to updating software such as malware scanners, firewalls, and VPNs to help maintain security.

These four tips will help to keep your remote workers safe from online cyber attacks and hacking attempts. While the world gets through this crisis, it’s important to know that at least one area of your life and business is safe and secure.

Need assistance to protect your family and business?
Jackson & Jackson Insurance Agents and Brokers offer a full-service insurance center with over 80 years of experience serving the local San Dimas, Glendora, and LaVerne business communities. We offer all lines of insurance to meet your home and auto insurance and commercial business insurance needs. If you have questions about policies or need to look at extra insurance coverage, we are here to help.

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