Tips to help employees be cyber safe at home and at the office

The lessons learned from cyber security training for employees must extend beyond the office doors. It’s important that employees understand that cyber security awareness matters at the office and at home.

We know that many people relax their cyber security practices when they’re using their home computers, laptops, and personal mobile devices. You want to give your staff, your users actionable cyber security information that they can apply at work and at a home, and October is the perfect timing as it’s National Cyber Security Month.

More people are working from home and using their personal mobile devices to access work email, message boards, and other confidential information. These mobile and highly connected work practices mean that employees must put into practice the lessons from security awareness training wherever they are.

Security Vulnerabilities at Home and the Office

The same security vulnerabilities that exist in the office extend to the home and when working in a coffee shop or other public location. Your employees can keep valuable corporate information safe by remembering these home and out-of-office security vulnerabilities:

  • Recycling Bin: remind employees to shred personal documents and not to dispose of company documents at home or in a public location.
  • Computer or Laptop: security software and regular file backups help protect and maintain information availability.
  • Web Browsing: reinforce that employees must be cautious when sharing information on social media and to look for the padlock sign or https:// to indicate the website is secure.
  • Phone Calls: from threatening voicemails to text messages offering a free prize, the mobile phone has become a prime target for cybercriminals.
  • Home Router: provide employees with the details they need to secure and protect their home Wi-Fi network.

The same social engineering tactics that cybercriminals use to steal corporate information are used to steal personal data including credit card numbers, personal passwords, and banking information.

And this is why National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day on October 17th is an ideal way for employees to put into place cyber security best practices at home. At home and at work, ask employees to take three simple actions:

  1. Back Up Files
    Back up files to a secure hard drive and remove sensitive information from laptops, office computers, and mobile devices.
  2. Organize
    Do not leave company documents and files on the desk, wipe whiteboards clean, and remove sticky notes with passwords.
  3. Clean
    Shred personal and corporate documents, delete old and no longer used files from the computer, and keep desk drawers secure.

Cyber Security Threats at Home

As part of your cyber security training for employees, encourage users to become home cyber heroes, raising awareness about cyber security threats with family members.

By extending cyber security awareness from the office to the home, your employees are protecting the company and themselves from threats. Encourage employees to share our free and interactive Protecting Your Home Computer course with all family members who are active online.

Make sure your employees do not overlook these threats to information when working from home or in public places and during personal computer and Internet use:

  • Message-Based Scams
    Criminals use email or text messages to directly steal information or to trick people into committing illicit activities. One way they do this is with phishing emails that convince employees to reveal personal and professional information including passwords.
  • Telephone-Based Scams
    Savvy criminals impersonate the company IT expert and phone employees who work remotely, telling them to download the new security software they were just emailed. This security software is really malware which infects the employee’s home network and corporate laptop. Text messages, threatening voicemails, and impersonation are key methods used by cybercriminals.
  • Hacking
    Many people neglect to install operating system and app updates, they see these as an unnecessary interruption to their Internet use. Cybercriminals use software to exploit mobile devices and laptops that are using outdated operating systems and apps to steal confidential information.
  • Malware
    Malware is a threat both at the office and at home. Using email attachments, fake websites, and spoofed links, criminals trick people into downloading and installing malware that can infiltrate the home network, office network, and any connected mobile devices.

Cyber Heroes at Home and at the Office

The more cyber heroes we have at home and at the office, the higher the awareness is of the realities of cybercrime. Too many people mistakenly believe that cybercriminals only target large corporations or the very wealthy.

However, as we know, everyone regardless of income, company size, age, or address is vulnerable to cyber security attacks. To extend the reach of cyber heroes from the office to the home, remember these key cyber security best practices:

  • Keep Software Up To Date: make sure the latest operating system and app updates are installed on all devices that connect to the Internet. Install all security patches, browser updates, and the latest operating system. Doing this keeps Internet-connected devices protected from criminals who use security vulnerabilities to hack and steal information.
  • Install a Firewall: provide employees with company IT support to install a secure firewall at home. This protects company assets and your employees from personal cyber attacks.
  • Use Antivirus Software: antivirus software is key to protecting computers, networks, and connected devices from malware. Malware can very quickly infect computers and even locate and transmit confidential information without the user knowing. Use antivirus software to automatically scan downloaded files, email attachments, and content stored on USB keys, external hard drives, and memory cards.
  • Create Strong Passwords: remind people to stop using names, favorite colors, or 12345 as their passwords. Strong passwords are key in protecting computers, mobile devices, and network assets from cybercriminals. Passwords used at home and in the office should be unique and contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Provide employees with access to password storage software that can be used at home and in the office.
  • Be Click Aware: it is very easy to forget that a link or attachment could be a cyber security risk. The best approach is to be skeptical of any emails, text messages, or social media content that contains unsolicited links or attachments. Cybercriminals prey on our clicking habit to infect computers with malware, to redirect victims to fraudulent websites, and to trick people into providing passwords, credit card details, and other personal information.
  • Ask Questions: remind employees that if they’re uncertain about the validity of an email, phone call, text message, or person – that you want them to stop and ask questions. Often employees are nervous to question an email or phone call that appears to come from the CEO or to ask an office visitor questions about who they are waiting for.

Your employees are your first line of defense against cybercrime. When you give them the tools and knowledge they need to be cyber aware, you’re creating a more secure work environment.

 


 

 

Take advantage of the Protecting Your Home Computer Kit to improve awareness of cyber security threats and to reduce the risks of a data breach at home.

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