Do you need information about a Cyber Office?
Full disclosure: I received a barrage of critical emails from someone who demands free blog coaching. I sent a link to all my blogging tips articles so he’d have the information for free, but the critical, demanding emails continued.
My husband asked if I was going to report the emails to the Cyber Office.
I try putting the emails in my spam folder, but I invariably see them back in my email inbox.
Should I report the emails to the Cyber Office?
Remote work security is the subject of this article.
By the time you are done reading this guide, you’ll explore best security practices, discover the benefits of two-factor authentication, receive a cybersecurity checklist, and understand more about the function of the Cyber Office.
Let’s get started.
Best Security Practices When Working From Home
Working from home has become the new normal for many around the world. From less commute to increased opportunities (check out some opportunity ideas here), working from home can be a great experience. If you aren’t practicing good online security habits though, the dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Without the protective umbrella of an IT department, many of us tend to treat working from home the same way we do personal web usage. That often means simple passwords, clicking on random links, and not having the right safety tools.
To make sure that you’ll be keeping your device (and your work data) safer, here are some of the things you can do:
1. Always Use Internet Security Software
Malware attacks cost companies an average of $2.4 million and when you’re working from home, your device becomes a loophole for that cost to affect your company.
Although we’re used to ensuring there is antivirus software on our systems, consider kicking things up a notch and use Internet security software instead. While both protect against viruses, Internet security software includes many other useful security-related features.
For example, some may have bad link blockers, phishing protection, and even ransomware prevention. The threat vector is growing larger and more comprehensive solutions are needed to keep us safer online.
2. Encrypt Data in Transmission
Encryption prevents stolen data from being read by unauthorized persons. (Image source: Stonefly)
Data encryption means scrambling information so that it can’t be used even if it gets stolen. While this might sound complex, there’s a really easy way to handle this, simply sign up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.
Consider the scenario that you’re connecting to a company network from home and the data gets intercepted halfway. You might end up compromising your entire office network. That’s where the VPN steps in.
VPNs are designed to allow you to connect to secure remote servers. Any data you send and receive through those servers are automatically encrypted, increasing both your security and privacy. Don’t mistake them with VPS though, they’re entirely different things (learn the difference between VPN and VPS here).
3. Watch Your Password Habits
At work, many of us are spoon-fed and the guys in IT hand accounts to us with complex passwords (that many of us quickly jot down and paste on the desk). At home, you might have to create your own accounts for some services.
Many people still have the habit of creating simple, easy-to-remember passwords. Once we’re familiar with them, we re-use them across multiple sites thinking the password is safe. Yet websites and services are constantly getting breached, and losing one duplicated password may mean disaster for your entire profile.
Make sure you create and use passwords that are:
- Unique and at least 8 or more characters in length
- Combine upper and lowercase characters
- Includes digits and special characters
- Aren’t easily associable with you (such as date of birth)
While this might sound like a real pain, it can save you days of work in case one of your passwords gets compromised. Simply change the password for the offending service. If you have problems remembering so many, consider using a password management tool.
4. Never Divulge Personal information
No matter how legitimate a source that’s asking for it, always consider carefully before handing out personal details. While the site may not be malicious, the information could easily fall into the wrong hands.
Many services today use personal information as a way of confirming identity. If someone with malicious intent were to get a hold of yours they could try to impersonate you and gain access to private services or accounts.
This applies across the board for online sites, be it social media channels or even an official service provider.
5. Use Multifactor Authentication Where Possible
An increasing number of websites and services allow users to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) like two-factor authentication.
There are many benefits of two-factor authentication: For instance, this feature enhances your login process by requiring an additional verification measure on top of the typical username and password.
- Increased online protection
- Reduce fraud
- Increase trust in online relationships
One common way this is done is by using Google Authenticator. The website provides you with a QR code that you scan with the authentication app. Following that, each time you log in to the website you will need to launch the app and enter the verification code shown.
MFA isn’t always enabled by default as many people find it a hassle to use. However, it’s good practice and can prevent cybercriminals from attempting to guess or force a password into a system.
Note: The benefits of two-factor authentication can’t be denied, but this added layer of protection does not give you a 100% guarantee against hackers.
6. Keep Software Updated Regularly
Bugs and flaws are constantly being found in all software – even security applications. When these are discovered, developers tend to quickly release updates that prevent cybercriminals from exploiting those flaws.
However, not all software automatically updates itself. In many cases, you’ll need to either enable those automatic updates or process them manually. It tends to vary between software, so make sure you keep on your toes about when updates are available.
7. Always Keep Backups
The first rule of Murphy’s law states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Your approach to working from home should be to treat that rule as gospel and take the correct preventative measures.
Creating backups is one way of doing that so even if something goes wrong you can recover from it and get back to work quickly. There are lots of automated backup applications around to choose from, so you won’t need to do manual backups constantly. Just remember to check your backups periodically to ensure they’re working as they should.
Cyber Security Checklist
Did you notice using multi-factor authentication is on the cybersecurity checklist? Olena, from Olenkas.com, is an expert in IT and a web consultant. She recommends multi-factor authentication such as two-factor authentication.
Using and Choosing a Cyber Office
What is a Cyber Office?
A Cyber Office is a place you can report cyber crimes.
I mentioned a cyber crime in the introduction to this post: I feel harrassed online.
By no means is that the only cyber crime. Online identity theft is common. I have been a victim of online identity theft. Have you?
In addition, I once had a reader write to tell me someone was committing incremental plagiarism and stealing his blog post content. I have also been a victim of incremental plagiarism despite the disclaimer that the content is mine in my sidebar.
These are the types of crimes you might report to the Cyber Office.
Which Cyber Office Should You Use to Make the Report?
Once you have determined you are a victim of a cybercrime, choose your Cyber Office.
There is more than one Cyber Office for you to pick.
How high up will you go? For instance, will you report the crime to the National Department of Homeland Security in the United States? This seems extreme.
In the United States, the FBI opened an office you can use to report a cybercrime. The office is called, “The Internet Crime Complaint Center,” also called “IC3.gov.”
If you are in the United States, report the cyber crime to this Cyber Office. Here is the link: https://www.ic3.gov/.
You have a choice of using another Cyber Office. There are various state offices you can use as well.
For instance, in my state of California, I would report a cyber crime to the State of California Department of Justice.
Remote Work Security FAQs
How do you keep security when employees work remotely?
Make sure employees use two-factor authentication and have strong passwords.
Is remote work secure?
If you are working online, and you take precautions against cybercrimes, remote work can be secure although no security is guaranteed. Precautions include using multi-factor authentication and strong passwords.
What are the risks of remote working?
If you are working online 100% from home or partially as part of hybrid employment, there are risks. For instance, you can be the target of hackers who try to steal your financial information. Take precautions against these risks by using multi-factor authentication and strong, secure passwords.
Final Thoughts: Internet Best Practices and Using a Cyber Office
Online security responsibilities take up a whole new dimension if you’re working from home. Your personal habits may encroach into work time, affecting the business you work for. Even if you have a company-provided device to use, failing to take security best practices into account could cost you dearly.
Remember that while some of the things could result in more time taken to get things done, the lost time is less painful than having to jump through hoops trying to correct a security disaster.
Fortunately, there is a Cyber Office available for you to use in the event you become a victim.
Readers, please share so online entrepreneurs discover this information about how to prevent cybercrime and how to choose a Cyber Office to report a cybercrime.
I look forward to your views in the comment section. Were you ever victimized online? How did you handle the incident? Did you report the incident to a Cyber Office?
Authors: Janice Wald and Jason Chow
Janice Wald is the founder of MostlyBlogging.com and co-founder of the Mostly Blogging Academy. She is an ebook author, blogger, blogging coach, blogging judge, freelance writer, and speaker. She won the Best Internet Marketer Award and the Best Blogger Award at the 2021 Infinity Blog Awards. Wald was also nominated as 2019 Best Internet Marketer by the Infinity Blog Awards and in 2017 as the Most Informative Blogger by the London Bloggers Bash. She’s been featured on Small Business Trends, the Huffington Post, and Lifehack.
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