In today’s remote-working world, technology is at the forefront of almost everything we do. With millions of people online every day, it is important to be aware of your digital surroundings. Your cybersecurity habits while working remotely can risk putting your company, organization, or business in danger. Hackers will do anything they can to steal your information, so taking precautionary steps to protect your data is vital to not only your online safety but also for the safety and security of your employer or business.
Being unprepared will leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks where hackers can steal your information by using ransomware. Ransomware has been all over the news lately, putting companies such as the Colonial Pipeline in great danger of taking a big loss to their finances and private information.
What is the danger?
You should consistently be aware of your cybersecurity habits, and especially be on the lookout for ransomware attempts. Ransomware is a type of technology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or indefinitely block access to it unless a ransom is paid. Most ransomware attacks result in victims facing permanent or temporary loss of their proprietary or sensitive information. Unfortunately, once cybercriminals are paid the ransom, they’re not trustworthy to actually release your data back to you and could even strike again with another attack if the manner in which the breach initially occurred isn’t rectified.
How can I avoid this?
Here are some cyber security tips while working from home to help prevent ransomware attacks:
- Know what assets are connected to your network in order to protect yourself against ransomware infection. Be aware of the hardware and software linked to your Wi-Fi and private accounts. Knowing that your assets are safe, trusted, and secure will provide you with a higher chance of preventing an attack.
- Use strong passwords. If you use a common password, it is best for you to switch it to a longer, more complicated password. When passwords are weak, it can take only seconds for hackers to sign in to your accounts and lock you out. Avoid using simple passwords such as “Password1234” or your last name and favorite number. When you create a new password, use unique letters and numbers, as well as exclamation points or other punctuation. Having a strong password is important because, once hackers break in, they can go even deeper into your software. This would only lead to further breaches of security and is why you should always use strong and unique passwords for any account you have.
- Refrain from opening suspicious attachments. Most ransomware is done by intriguing emails that contain dangerous links or attachments. Some of these come in the form of common file formats that you use within your organization, such as Word or Excel. But, some of these may show up in a format that’s rarely used (such as .EXE or .SCR). Taking time to double check the source of the email, as well as the email itself, can save your information. If you trust the source, trust the information.
- Download only from websites that you trust. Just as you would stop a suspicious download, you should only allow downloads from sites that you trust. These trusted websites include sites that use “HTTPS” in the address, as well as official app marketplaces, such as your device’s trusted app store.
- Exit and disable your web browser, if you notice something suspicious happening on your computer. Be aware of random, unapproved downloads onto your device. This is how hackers can install ransomware software onto your device and break into your information. If you notice an unapproved, untrusted download beginning to happen, immediately shut down your web browser. You can even restart your computer to fully disable the download from finishing. Whatever you may do, do not continue the unapproved download.
- Install an add-on to disable pop-ups for your web browser. Pop-ups are an easy way for hackers to start their attacks. These false ads can spam your screen, leaving you helpless as it takes over your information. Blocking pop-ups is a great way to prevent breaches of your privacy. Many add-ons are free and safe to use, but as always, make sure they are from trusted and safe online sources.
- Stay informed. Always stay vigilant and continue to educate yourself on emerging threats. Also, be sure to check out First Bank’s Security Hub to help safeguard your business, household, or employer’s sensitive information.
There are many ways to protect yourself on the internet, and it is important that you follow these simple cyber security tips while working from home. Always be knowledgeable of what you click on, and be aware of anything suspicious on your computer. If you feel you may have been a victim of ransomware, fraud, or cybercriminal behavior, visit us in-person at any First Bank branch, call the First Bank Service Center at 1-800-760-2265, or contact us online. Always stay alert!