Teleworking? 7 tips for computer security at home

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Teleworking has gone from being an alternative to an obligation for the majority of Spaniards, at least for the duration of the state of alarm. Having a space separated from the rest of the house and following a routine as you would in the office are two pillars to do it successfully. But also, if you want to avoid problems, you should also review computer security at home to protect your work well.

These are 7 concrete keys to improve computer security in teleworking, but the first thing is to be clear about the different types of actions you can carry out.

What are passive and active security in computing

The active security is the first line of defense. It encompasses all the actions that you can carry out to avoid “getting it”, from having the antivirus updated to having strong passwords, not opening unknown links or suspicious sites, or analyzing the USB that you are going to use.

Passive safety it starts working once your computer has been infected. At this point, the objective is to minimize the effects of the virus with measures such as scanning the computer to try to eliminate the virus or use the backup copies that we have to be able to format the computer and restore the files.

Tips to improve computer security when teleworking

Of course, the more active security measures you put in place, the less chance you will have to resort to passive security. Among the tips to improve computer security when teleworking, there are some for which you will need specific tools, such as the aforementioned antivirus.

However, many others depend directly on you and your actions when browsing the internet, for example. These are the 7 most useful actions you can take to protect your computers and your information while telecommuting.

1. Protect your passwords: two-step verification

Passwords protect your most sensitive information, which hackers are most interested in accessing. The most basic thing is to have a strong password, that includes uppercase, lowercase, symbols, and numbers; but also avoid keyboard patterns, like 1234, QWERTY or common names and dates.

However, the most useful action is implement a two-step verification system. It basically consists of an additional step, one more code that you must put after your username and password. This double authentication can be done by SMS, the most common, or with specific applications such as Google Authenticator, to mention one of the most popular.

2. Security for your computer: antivirus and firewall

Antivirus is the basic protection that every system should have. Its mission is to detect threats to your computer and block them. The offer in the market is huge and even there are very reliable free options such as those offered by Avira, Avast or AVG, in addition to Windows Defender itself, which includes Microsoft’s system.

For its part, the firewall or firewall controls access to the computer’s network. Its mission is to protect the information stored on the computer by blocking attacks from those who want to access it, among other things.

Windows includes its own firewall, but if you want, you can install an alternative one. Among the free options, Zone Alarm or Comodo stand out, although the aforementioned antivirus also allow you to activate your own firewall.

3. Keep your system and programs always updated

If there’s one thing Windows will insist on ad nauseam, it’s that update your system. It will remind you over and over again until you do, and it is not by chance. Keeping your system and programs up to date is one of the best ways to avoid vulnerabilities.

And is that a good part of the updates are focused on improving system security. They are the manufacturers’ response to the new formulas that cybercriminals are finding to attack your computer.

4. Protect your router and get a more secure Wi-Fi

The router is the internet access point in your home. Among other things, he is in charge of distributing the Wifi signal around the house. That is why you must protect it to protect your home computers and also prevent your Wifi from being “stolen”.

These are five ways to get it:

  • Change the name of your Wifi. You should never keep the router’s factory settings. Start by modifying the SSID of the Wi-Fi (the name that you see when looking for it) so that potential hackers cannot identify your operator and the specific router model so easily.
  • Change the password. Look for a different password that contains numbers, uppercase, lowercase, and symbols.
  • Improves the encryption of the Wifi network. Bet on the highest level of security with WPA2 encryption compared to WEP modes, which are much less secure. You can do this by entering the router’s network configuration from your device. Instructions on how to do this usually come in the manual.
  • Enable MAC filtering. MAC filtering is simply a black or white list of devices that can and cannot access your Wifi. It is a good way to control who uses the network. If you don’t want to go this far, you should at least check what computers connect to your network. One way to do this is to give each of the computers a simple name with which you can easily identify it from the configuration menu of your router.

5. Use a VPN connection to telecommute

A VPN is a technology used to connect one or more computers to a private network over the internet. They are the networks that companies use to give teleworking employees access to their files.

From Windows you can configure a VPN connection to work in the section “Configuration> Network and Internet> VPN”. You will only have to add a new network with the data of the company network and, when you go to connect, the login data that your company will also have provided.

6. Ignore spam and phishing emails

Even if it’s hard to admit we are one of the weakest links in the security chain of computer equipment. Hackers know this and are also looking for new ways to exploit that weakness, especially through email.

The first step in avoiding spam is not even receiving it. Most emails have their own systems to detect spam. You can help by marking emails that you have already detected as spam.

In addition, for know if an email is spam you can use these five indicators:

  • The sender does not correspond with the service that sends the mail. For example, when a company uses a gmail or similar email instead of with the company’s domain.
  • Messages with grammatical or spelling mistakes.
  • Emails of services that you have not used or contracted.
  • Attachments that are actually executable. These files are normally camouflaged in compressed files.
  • Messages from financial entities asking you to confirm your password. This is one of the most repeated scams. Most entities will never ask you to do it by mail.

The best formula to avoid phishing is do not open suspicious links and, when in doubt, go to the official page of the service or entity that sends us the email by typing the URL in the browser. At this point, the best antivirus for your computer is you.

7. Computer security precautions also on mobile

The computer is not the only device that needs security when teleworking. Mobile is also vulnerable to attack. Start by having an antivirus, if the manufacturer does not already include one.

As in the previous case, keep apps and operating system up-to-date to avoid vulnerabilities and bet on strong passwords. In the end, your mobile is still a small computer that also needs its own security.

Follow these instructions and you will be able to telework at home safely for your equipment and your information.

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