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Cyber Security Tips for Individuals and Businesses Working from Home

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Cyber Security Tips for Individuals and Businesses Working from Home

Businesses and individuals worldwide are adjusting to “the new normal” of working from home. While our work environments may have changed, cyberattacks are still happening and at a higher rate than normal. More than one-third of senior technology executives surveyed by CNBC say that cybersecurity risks have increased as a majority of their employees work from home.

It’s important to remember, your network at home may not be as secure as your office IT infrastructure — which means you must be extra careful to avoid falling for a cyber scam. As your local insurance agent, we want to make sure that you are protected, whether you are shopping online from the comfort of your living room or working from your home office. Here are some tips to make sure that you or your business don’t fall victim to cyber threats:

Stay Vigilant

Now more than ever, it is important to take extra measures to stay safe online. Follow these precautions and look for these red flags, especially if you suspect a phishing attempt through a fraudulent email, text, or phone call

Ignore unsolicited communications, especially from organizations or companies posing as a COVID-19 resource. 
  1. Some scammers are impersonating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization — be extra cautious if you receive any emails containing links, logos, or imagery of these organizations. Many of these emails contain malicious links that are in place to try to get you to click by using phrases such as “updated cases of the coronavirus near you” or “you may have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient.” These landing pages are likely set up to steal email credentials and other personal information.

Double-check your links 
  1. When you open an email, roll your cursor over the link and see if the URL that pops up is consistent with the email address and the content in the message. If not, don’t click.
  2. If you receive an email or text with links for transactions or packages claiming to be Amazon that you don’t remember ordering to your home, don’t click the link. Instead, contact their customer service to be sure it is an accurate email.

Don’t provide your personal information
  1. Be cautious of requests for your username and/or password, or other personal details such as banking information or login credentials to help with payments or COVID-19 discounts.

Be on the lookout for suspicious websites and requests:
  1. If you see a website that looks suspicious and claims to sell goods or services, do some research before exploring their website. For example,  scams have been reported by consumers searching for home exercise equipment during the pandemic. Certain items are very hard to find at this time, and there are many Facebook ads claiming to have them available at deeply-discounted prices. 
  2. You should also be wary if you receive an ad or an email that has an overwhelming sense of urgency or is asking you to complete a task quickly.

Protect Yourself

Now that we’ve covered some basic red flags, here are a few ways to add extra security to your home office. 

  1. If your computer looks different, experiences glitches or a suspicious problem develops, immediately report it to your business IT support team.
  2. Make sure you have backup copies of important files and data in case of a cybersecurity breach, accidental deletion, or computer malfunction. Saving all documents and data to the shared drive on the server and having the server backed up on a regular basis is a great way to protect your data.
  3. It is recommended to have encryption on laptops to prevent sensitive data from being accessed. 
  4. Use a Verified Personal Network to add an extra layer of protection to your WIFI and data. 
  5. Use secure passwords on all of your online accounts. Eight characters are not enough — practice good password management and use a strong mix of characters. Do not use the same password for multiple sites. Do not share your password with others and do not write it down anywhere where someone could see it. 
  6. Unplug Alexa/Google or any other device that can “listen in” while you’re on Zoom calls to avoid the potential for sensitive company information (e.g., account numbers, company plans, etc.) to be compromised.

At Anderson, Bagley & Mayo, we strive to stay up to date on risks that may bring harm to our clients, including threats to their businesses. If you are a business owner who has concerns about increased risks due to employees working from home, please contact Rich or Tom Bagley today for a complete review of your insurance protection.  If you are an employee working from home, this is also a good time to review your insurance protection, to make sure that your home office, data, and personal information is secure and properly insured. Contact us today, and let Anderson, Bagley & Mayo help protect what matters most to you.

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