How To Securely Work From Home

In a time of crisis, things slowed down, but, not for everyone. Hackers have tons of work and when people are most vulnerable, so might be their devices.

To best protect your devices while working at home, here are several tips and tricks:

  1. Keep work data at work computers — if your company has a strong IT team, that would probably mean that your work device has its disk encrypted, has strong firewall and it’s OS is updated frequently, however your personal computer may not have these security protections, so doing work from your personal computer or downloading information on it carries a risk that is just not worth taking.
  2. Avoid connecting your work device to public Wi-Fi —connecting to a public Wi-Fi represents a significant security risk and should be avoided if possible. Whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi, you should be aware that other people have access to that network and without a proper firewall you can easily become a target. Also, anyone on that same network can monitor your traffic. What you can do if you don’t have access to a public Wi-Fi, and you just must have access to internet at the moment, you can connect to a hot-spot from a dedicated device or your personal phone, and although your web traffic will be unencrypted between the hot-spot and its destination, it still eliminates the problem of getting hacked by people on the same public Wi-Fi.
  3. Use a VPN — yes, even at home, Virtual Private Network, is a fully encrypted, private internet connection via a VPN provider. A VPN securely encrypts the entire path from your computer to the VPN provider. No one along that path can see your data: not other WiFi users, not the people managing the hot-spot, and not the hot-spot’s ISP.
  4. Encrypt your drive — this means increased privacy protection, no one can access the data on your disk without a key. If disk encryption is what you need and you want to know how to do it, here you can check this article for more information on how-to-encrypt-your-hard-drive
  5. Lock your device before walking away, or if in a public place, take the device with you —never, but never, leave your device unattended, that way you are just leaving an open road for anyone to look at your data, emails, confidential information, and most often than not, people do take chances if they have one.
  6. Never lend your work computer — in a more casual environment that we are trying to work, we might find ourselves surrounded with people that do not have and should not have any idea of the work we are doing, so don’t find yourself trapped to borrow your computer to your friend who just “wants to check something”. If you can’t be straight-forward of why you can’t borrow your device, find an excuse. We find excuses for so many things, you can find one for not borrowing the laptop.
  7. Use strong passwords — use a different one on every account, and also on your user login account on your device. Strong password is considered one that has 12 characters minimum and consists of numbers, symbols, capital letters and lower-case letters. It’s also a good idea to use a Password Manager, like KeePassXC, 1Password, Dashlane. That way you don’t have to remember all your passwords, so it’ll make your job of thinking strong passwords for each different account a lot easier.
  8. Set up 2FA — make sure your logins rely on something more than just your password. Two-factor authentication means that you need to provide something else, rather than just your password, to be authenticated. Some of the applications that you can use are Google Authenticator, Auth0, LastPass Authenticator. This way your accounts are more secure and you are off the threat map for your company.

And while all of these are a great way to keep your working-securely-game on top, the most important thing is to stay alert. Every good game is won by a good defense, and you, yourself, are your own best defense.