Working From Home and Security tips

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The past year has seen a massive shift in the number of people working from home. Granted, this has not been through choice but necessity in order to limit the spread of covid-19. However, with more and more people seeing the benefits of working from home, it doesn’t look like this trend will halt once things return to “normal”. With this increase in the numbers of WFH employees there is also an increase in security concerns from companies so how can we be safer? Here are some working from home and security tips to help make your WFH environment safer, both for you, and your employer.

Old Fashioned Security

When we think of working from home and security most of us immediately think of cyber security – and I’ll come to that later – however there is also the issue of good old-fashioned physical security. Despite the fact that a lot of us are working fromsecurity home it is still good practice to ensure that the house is secure. I know myself that once I go into the spare room (office I mean!) and put on some music that I don’t have a clue what is going on downstairs. Not that I always have the music up loud when I’m working (maybe on Fridays!) but it does sometimes mask the sound of the doorbell. Other times I am sometimes on zoom meetings (which seem to get more and more frequent). As I have the “office” I don’t usually require headphones but if you were to wear them then it limits external sounds which may indicate something is “going on”.

Its an easy fix to make a quick inspection of the doors and windows before going into your “office” in the morning to make sure they are all properly secure and no chance of anyone gaining access. Another simple fix to give peace of mind might be to install a small camera in the main room or somewhere overlooking the access points. I have once installed in the kitchen (which has patio doors) so I can keep an eye. The one I have can even be set up to send you an alert if any movement is detected for further peace of mind. It automatically records and the video can be stored either on a memory card or in the ‘cloud’ for extra security. You can take a look at similar type camera’s HERE.

Remember to keep your “home office” secure as well. I know that, in a lot of cases, the set-up has been a temporary arrangement but if at all possible ensure you keep your laptop safe (maybe in a locked drawer) when you are not using it.

Something else that has increased is the number of deliveries I am receiving. I’m not sure if it’s a case of “I’m at home so I’m ordering more” or if its down to “not being out so much that I have to order stuff to get delivered”. delivery

Whatever the reason I know that I am getting more and more boxes (and answering the door more)! In order to avoid missing a delivery, and I have done this before despite being in the house, it may be worth installing a Ring doorbell which allows you to see who is at the door from your phone, and speak to them too. This particular make of “video doorbell” can also be linked to Alexa as well as other cameras around the house making for complete coverage as well as peace of mind.

Another even simpler option may be to get a cordless doorbell – the one I have linked to even has two ringer units which can be plugged in to any socket (meaning no batteries required) so one could easily be put in the “office” meaning you never miss the delivery driver again.

Cyber Security

I was amazed when I saw the following chart which shows how

long it takes a hacker to crack your password. A lot of passowrd crackingshort passwords can be hacked instantly which is really worrying. It has certainly made me think about what type of password I use in the future. Just increasing a password by a couple of characters can increase the amount of time it takes (and make it less likely that a hacker will bother). This goes for your router as well as your software passwords.

A lot of people leave their router on the default password and this makes them highly susceptible to cybercriminals. Make sure you change your router password to something unique.

Encryption is the process of encoding information so that it can not be read if it is intercepted so it makes sense wherever possible to ensure this is switched on if it is available.

On a computer running Windows this can be done by turning on BitLocker or on a MacOS by turning on FileVault. If you use an Android or iOS phone then these should already be running encryption by default as long as the software is up to date. Check on your device to make sure its running the latest updates.

This goes for your computer as well. Many operating systems will automatically apply updates when any vulnerabilities are discovered but some will require your computer to be rebooted to complete so ensure that you are turning your computer off at the end of the day to allow any update patches to be properly applied.

One simple thing we can do to protect our devices is to enable automatic locking. I know I have frequently seen laptops being left in coffee shops while their owner nips to the bathroom or goes to get another drink and they just leave them unattended and unlocked. Enabling auto-lock may seem annoying but it wouldn’t be as annoying as having your laptop hacked by someone.

If at all possible use a virtual private network (VPN). This works by linking your computer to a network securely and with encryption so that it cannot be intercepted. This is like connecting your computer directly into a private network and would enable you to send and receive data securely.

That’s just a few hints and tips to try to keep you safe working from home. For some general safety on working from home check out this article HERE. Do you have any tips or hints you can share? If you do or if you want to comment please send me a comment in the box below. I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, stay safe.

Take Care,

Dave

Simple wfh

4 thoughts on “Working From Home and Security tips”

  1. Hi Dave, I enjoyed the article. It’s true that more people than ever are now working from home, but I never really gave much thought to the idea that someone can pretty easily break into your home if you are upstairs and preoccupied and the door to the house downstairs is open. I think people just have a false sense of security when they are at home during the day and because of this they are less likely to lock their doors. I also thought the graphic regarding how easily passwords can be hacked was interesting as well and it is a great reminder to anyone to be sure that they have a very secure password. 

    Reply
    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your comments and i’m glad you enjoyed the article. I agree, I found the graphic quite scary to the point that I have changed a couple of my passwords to include more characters for that reason. 

      It’s worth just taking a minute to change them to be longer and include numbers and characters. I don’t think it will be 100% secure but the longer it takes the less chance they’ll try.

      Stay safe,

      Dave

      Reply
  2. Hi and thanks for sharing this. This is a hugely important subject. I am fortunate that my employer takes care of cybersecurity. All the software on my work laptop is maintained remotely by our IT folks. We get daily updates and patches and indeed switching off every night is part of that picture. The stats on cyberattacks are really unbelievable. Our network and email systems are under constant attack. It only takes one of us to accidentally click on a phishing message and we all start getting bogus emails. Sometimes I just think there has to be a better way. You are right to focus on regular physical security as well. It is all too easy to forget the obvious. I’m sure this will be very useful for people working from home without much IT support. Best regards, Andy 

    Reply
    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for your comments. I am the same with work and fortunate that they continually upgrade software with security patches similar to your employer but some aren’t so lucky. It only takes one person to click on an external link that’s corrupted and the whole system could be compromised. 

      Thanks and stay safe,

      Dave

      Reply

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