Coronavirus and cybersecurity: how to securely work from home

The rise in cyber attacks shows that internet security is a serious issue: ways to ensure internet privacy while you are at home

Staying home comes with a need of shielding you privacyThe pandemic situation forces people to work from home but that comes with lots of risks. How to tackle that safely. COVID-19 spread is also affecting the activity of cyber threat creators during this sensitive time all over the world. Many countries reach the stage where citizens need to stay home to keep safe, and the quarantine is mandatory.[1] Other places in the world require the ones who travel to stay in isolation for two weeks, at least.[2]

Two weeks, a month, or half a year, quarantine is not that pleasant. Especially when you need to still work, but can only do that from home. Studying or working from home can have more risks than every day surfing online because of the material you access and private information you possibly share while online. Private information is the number one goal of cybercriminals after direct blackmail.[3]

Even though this may be a great time to spend with loved ones, there is much more free time. So during the lockdown, you may decide to shop online or watch your favorite TV shows on streaming platforms, services, and internet TV channels. Or even pirate some movies. However, when the lockdown is extending, working, and studying remotely becomes a new norm in every household.

Actors use the name of COVID-19 virus for malicious purposes

The thing that people are more present online and paying less attention to some of the content s and details, makes malicious actors more eager to take advantage of such situations. There are tons of phishing attacks and campaigns where criminals use sensitive time and spread malware or try to attract users' attention with COVID-19-themed emails.[4]

Such reports started to surface back in March, and all the malicious attacks can get even nastier. You need to take that into considerations and be more cautious than ever because of anything Coronavirus-themed leverages on the thin line of being between dangerous or legitimate. There are already known tactics:

  • phishing sites supposedly providing all the pandemic updates;
  • email campaigns themed with COVID-19 info;
  • Coronavirus ransomware and other types of malware.

Risk of staying home and working online

You may use your home computer every day, but running the device non-stop for 12 hours or more for weeks may affect the machine significantly, so you may encounter some issues that have never occurred before when you used it for less time. Exposure to the internet and online content that can be dangerous or malicious is also a serious issue, besides the direct hacker access that can be obtained via malicious sites.

It comes without saying that the internet is not a safe place for all of us. However, when it comes to working online, your one step into the dangerous site can cause issues for the network of the whole company. Your none network needs to be secure, so handling sensitive information regarding your job and private data about you is remaining private.

You may try to keep separate accounts on the computer to keep private sections and work sections all safe. However, you need to have all the applications, security tools, and critical programs installed and running. Any vulnerabilities in the connection or devices can get exploited easily by hackers. Also, when your job includes confidential information, your home internet provider may access some of the information that shouldn't leave the network of the company. Such events can lead to a data breach.

What to do and what to avoid

The most important thing during this time for both sides of the quarantine is to keep informed and cautious, but not panic. The infection spreads around quickly, so staying at home can help someone else keep safe and stop spreading further. You need to consider how severe are all the cases in your area and how dangerous it can be when you leave the house.

Keep the information about the distribution up-to-date, but try to concentrate on more important things. For instance, work. If you need to still work from home, make sure to make all the connections and devices as secure as you can, so there are no risks or issues in the future, and you can calmly do you work as long as the quarantine is going to last.

  • Be aware of phishing campaigns and other issues regarding emails and such communication.
  • Make sure that sensitive information is encrypted and that you use reliable platforms.
  • Use company-wide cybersecurity tools.
  • Avoid public internet connection, unknown devices, and people that want to connect.

Private Internet Access – one of the tools for private connections

Private Internet Access is one of the VPN software examples that, in such cases, can help with few issues at once. You can protect your online privacy and identity because when the IP address is set to a different location, your ISP cannot indicate the particular connection to a person. You can browse anonymously and access content that typically cannot be accessed due to a particular location, for example.

You have a secure VPN account while using this application and can use the encrypted Wi-Fi feature to have all the connections and internet traffic secured with encryption. Trackers, advertising campaigns, and malware get also easily blocked when the app is running. PIA is not tracking your activity, this VPN service is not using any traffic logging features, it measures that ISP throttling is not happening.[5]

Even if you are not advanced in IT or tech-savvy, you can set up this application easily, and the only thing that the program needs is your tap or click. Automatically all the connections get encrypted, secured. You can be sure that private information is not accessible and that the activity on pages you visit is not seen by anyone else.

All these features are useful for working or studying online, but with one subscription, you can set the VPN for ten devices and secure your family members' devices and allow them to access Netflix or different platforms without any geo-location restrictions. If the two-month subscription is not satisfying your needs, you can get your money back.

About the author
Julie Splinters - Computer optimization specialist

When it comes to computer optimization, Julie Splinters is the expert. Whether it is a slow smartphone, Windows, Mac or Linux operating system, she will find a solution within minutes.

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