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Stay safe while working from home

Tom Sweeney

Tom Sweeney | Marketing Assistant

Tuesday 16th Jun, 2020

If you’ve had to adapt how you’re working due to COVID-19, it’s more than likely that you now find yourself working from home. This wasn’t such a big change to those who are already used to remote working, however for many of us this was, and still is, a complete new way of working.

With cyber crime on the increase and the fact that the majority of us are no longer protected by the safety of a company firewall, here are some tips to help you stay safe online whilst working from home:

 

Look out for phony communications

Fraudsters will try to use several methods of communication in order to scam you. Be suspicious of any emails or text messages from people or organisations that you don’t know or recognise. These types of communications will often seek to offer you more help and advice about these uncertain times by clicking on a link or by asking you to provide them with additional personal details, including bank information. Don’t do this, it’s best to delete the text, or email. If ever you want to confirm that the information you have received is accurate, its best practise to independently verify this yourself by visiting an official website or dialling a verified phone number to ask for more information.

 

Always check URLs and email addresses

Internet hackers are becoming increasingly intelligent. Not only are they imitating website URLS, but they are also imitating the aesthetics of legitimate, trusted sites in an attempt to pry valuable information from you. Over the past few weeks there has been an increase in scam websites mimicking official healthcare institutions as well as online retailers. Our advice is to double check the from email address to make sure it’s correct, hackers tend to use subtle differences that you may not notice at first glance, such as a slight miss-spelling of a company names. Also ignore any link you are unsure of and instead navigate directly to verified website URLs. If you’re unsure, ask a friend or colleague for some advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

Use a strong password

It’s always a good idea to use strong and unique passwords for each website or account you create, that way you limit any potential damage that you may incur. Using significant dates is always risky, internet scammers are clever and will even look at your social media accounts to determine when your birthday is and use this as a password to log into your accounts. A lot of smartphones and computers can actually generate a random password for you to use which will make things much more difficult for scammers. If you struggle to remember different passwords, try a password management tool like Dashlane.

 

Only connect to networks you recognise

If you are working from home with a piece of company equipment, your place of work will most likely offer you a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to work through in order to protect the network. Our advice is to use this as it also protects the equipment from any ransomware.

 

Be cautious when downloading software

Only download software from websites that you know and trust. If it is a company that’s new to you, make sure that the URL you are downloading it from is secure. Also do your research, check the internet for reviews, issues or concerns that exist regarding the company. Software downloads are an easy way to invite malware onto your PC or laptop.

 

Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is

Of course there are other ways in which you can stay safe while working at home, but these are just some simple tips to help you. We’re all in uncertain times so it’s important to remain vigilant to what is out there. Remember if it seems too convenient or looks too good to be true, it usually is.

We’ve created a dedicated section to the COVID-19 support available to contractors in our HelpHub which includes the Government support which is available, as well as advice on how to keep your mental health in check.

Visit our HelpHub

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