As more people start working from home, cybercriminals exploit this opportunity to target both companies and individuals. It’s important to be able to identify scams and protect your at-home network and personal accounts so you don’t fall victim.
Steps you can take to be safe at home:
- Ensure your WiFi connection is secure. To get started, make sure you need a password to access your WiFi and as with all passwords, make sure it is not easy to guess. Take these other basic steps to secure your wireless network, opens a new window.
- Use strong passwords. Use a mix of letters, numbers, symbols and uppercase and lowercase letters. Use password tricks, opens a new window to help you remember your password and/or use a password manager like LastPass, opens a new window.
- Keep your devices and software up to date. The most secure device/software is an up-to-date one. Read 5 Reasons Why Software Updates and Patches are Important, opens a new window.
- Beware of scammers. Phishing scams are getting more legitimate looking and can trick you into thinking an email or text is from someone you know and trust. They might even use scare tactics to get you to click on links and unknowingly share personal information, like passwords and social security numbers. The Federal Trade Commission provides good information on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams, opens a new window and how to report them. The best tip for protecting yourself against phishing scams is don’t ever click on suspicious links or open any attachments.
Additional steps you can take:
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). This is an alternative to password-only authentication where you are prompted for a secondary form of authentication after entering your password. These typically involve being texted a code to enter or using an authenticator app such as Google Authenticator, opens a new window, Microsoft Authenticator, opens a new window or Authy, opens a new window. To get started, check out this list of websites, opens a new window and find out if and how they support 2FA.
- Use a VPN. Your employer may provide a VPN (virtual private network) for employees to use, or you can set up your own, opens a new window.
- Secure your computer. There are many ways to do this from setting up a firewall to installing antivirus and antispyware software. If you have a pc, here are some tips from Microsoft on how to keep your computer secure at home, opens a new window.
Other things to be aware of:
Coronavirus scams. People pretending to be WHO (World Health Organization), fake charities, treatment scams and so much more are some methods of how scammers are trying to defraud people in connection with COVID-19. Read these articles for more information:
- Coronavirus Scams, opens a new window by Federal Trade Commission
- US Attorney Warns of Coronavirus Scams Targeting Vulnerable Victims, opens a new window by The United States Department of Justice.
Videoconferencing hijacking. The FBI has reported that hackers have been hijacking video conferences and online classrooms on the Zoom platform, also known as “Zoom bombing, opens a new window.” What can you do? Security professional Rik Ferguson, opens a new window has the following advice.
- Add a meeting password
- [Set] Screen sharing to “host only”
- Disable file transfer
- Disable “Join before host”
- Disable “Allow removed participants to rejoin”
What tips do you have to share to help others stay safe from cybercriminals?