Working Remotely? Tips to Ensure Strong Cybersecurity on your home devices.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, governments around the world were forced to shut down parts of the global economy to flatten the curve of the virus. As a result, businesses and their employees had to adjust to working remotely.

Working from home has its challenges, especially for the medical industry. One of those challenges is having secure cybersecurity. Not everyone’s home networks are safe, and without the aid of IT professionals, files & data are at significant risk.

Doctors, accountants, and any industry that deals with personal information of clients should have strong, safe networks to operate on to avoid cyber attacks. So how can you secure your home system so you can complete your tasks without the risk? Keep reading to find out how to increase your cybersecurity.

Must-Know Cybersecurity Information in 2020

Not all industries are the same. Some sectors require more cybersecurity than others. The finance and healthcare trades typically have the most prominent targets on their backs because their systems store confidential files hackers are looking for, such as:

  • Banking details
  • Home addresses
  • Social security numbers
  • Beneficiary information
  • Health care or finance information

In 2020 15% of cyber breaches involved the healthcare industry, and 10% were focused on the financial sector. These breaches occur on servers as well as unsecured networks. Additionally, healthcare had the highest cost in data breaches for $429 per medical record.

IT professionals and software developers were concerned about the increase of cyber attacks during the COVID-19 lockdown & rightfully so. If cybercriminals can hack into professional medical cloud computing platforms, they will be able to breach many home networks easily. Here are the COVID-19 related cyber-attacks to be aware of.

MalSpam and Phishing

Phishing is when you’re sent an email from what seems like a reputable company. There’s typically a link that transfers you to a website where you’ll be asked for your credentials, such as passwords and banking details.

MalSpam is known as malicious spam, which is an email that contains infected links that will redirect targets to websites that have Exploit Kits (malicious toolkits).

Cybercriminals are using the COVID-19 topic for phishing and MalSpam attempts. They send out an email that looks like it could be valuable information about the virus. But when you open the mail, it may be filled with cyber viruses, or it will ask you to donate money to their cause.

It’s essential to identify the type of emails that get sent to you and staff members to avoid opening malicious mail. Here are a few ways to identify phishing or MalSpam:

  • The email is written in poor grammar
  • Content is peculiar and implausible
  • Embedded links have odd URLs

Never click on links unless you’re sure they’re trustworthy. Furthermore, it’s advised never to type in your credentials on any sites that look unofficial.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a piece of software that infiltrates your technological infrastructure and encrypts all files & documents with a password. You’ll be required to pay a fee to unlock the files. It can be detrimental to medical and financial institutions because your business will cease if you can’t access data.

What’s more, the information on your patient and client files could potentially be stolen, which can result in lawsuits.

Ransomware can infect your systems through phishing emails or dodgy websites. It’s essential to train your staff on this matter because they can unknowingly infect your company’s entire network by opening spam emails.

Remote Desktop Protocol Targeting

Remote desktop protocol (RDP) is a secure network designed for people working outside of the office. But the RDP is susceptible to a breach when more employees are connected to it through an open network. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can assist in hiding the RDP effectively.

Credential Stuffing

Credential stuffing is a type of cyber breach where the hacker steals lists of usernames and passwords from a server. That’s why most sites and systems have two-factor authentications as an extra precautionary measure.

These two-factor codes are typically sent to a person’s email or cellphone number, and only that person can enter the site once the code is punched in.

How to Implement Strong Cybersecurity Measures

There are several ways you can secure your digital platforms when working remotely. IT experts would advise you to have the following to secure their connections and prevent malware & cyber breaches.

Secure Business Networks

Critical Security Controls (CIS) is the recommended action for business network cyber safeguarding. These controls are used for businesses to prevent many prevalent cyber-attacks. CIS is especially crucial for home Information Technology environments. It is what CIS can do:

  • Updates anti-malware platforms regularly
  • Implements consistent auto backups
  • Protection of saved files
  • Blocks communications on unauthorized ports
  • Trains employees on the consequence of cyber attacks
Vulnerability Management

Online medical platforms must have vulnerability management (VM) from tech support. It is the practice of identifying, classifying, and prioritizing potential vulnerabilities in software. VM is crucial for network and computer security, which can minimize cyber attacks.

Secure Home Networks

All devices employees use while working remotely, must be enabled with the latest cybersecurity. Here are ways you can secure your devices while working from home during COVID-19.

Virtual Private Networks

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are versatile because they’re used for a multitude of tasks such as streaming and private internet browsing. The purpose of a VPN is to hide your IP address and encrypt all your readable information so that it’s invisible to any unauthorized third party.

A VPN can be useful for those working in the medical industry or any sector that deals with sensitive documentation. It is because your activity can’t be seen by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). You certainly don’t want your ISP to view confidential documentation. Install a VPN to make your working activity private.  

Password Managers

Some companies have various systems that you’ll need to log into. It’s essential never to use the same password for all your online accounts. Utilize a password manager to generate lengthy codes that are difficult for cybercriminals to decipher.

Implement Two-Factor Authentications

All the online and cloud computing sites you use must have a two-factor authentication tool when logging in. As mentioned before, it’s an extra layer of protection in case a cybercriminal has access to your credentials and tries to log into your accounts. The criminal won’t be able to log into the site without the two-factor code.

Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software is developed to scan your device regularly to find and eliminate threats on your device. If you have a high-quality anti-virus on all your devices, it can find and eradicate infections before they can spread.

Firewalls

It’s crucial always to have your firewall activated. Think of a firewall as your device’s defense mechanism. This type of software prevents malware and viruses from entering your system through open networks or shared files. If you regularly access the internet, then you must have your firewall activated at all times.

Implement Lock-Outs

Lockouts on online systems should be implemented to prevent unauthorized access to files. So whether you’re using a health record management system or a banking app, after three tries of typing in a password incorrectly, you should be locked out.

Subsequently, you’ll have to contact IT support so you can reset your password to log back in. The reason for lockouts is to prevent someone from accessing files by trying to crack your password. If they enter the password incorrectly three times, they won’t be able to access the site without tech support.

This step may slow down workflow if you’re the one who forgot the password, but it’s a necessary security feature that should be on all devices, especially cloud computing platforms.

Anti-Spyware

Spyware is when the software is installed on your device to monitor your messages, calls, and online activity. It can be detrimental for remote employees not only on a business level but a personal one too. Ensure you have strong anti-spyware on your device to find and eradicate malicious programs on your device.

Regular Updates on Routers, Computers, and Software

Ensure that you have gone through all the settings on the cybersecurity platforms you’re using. You must enable regular updates and backups on your systems so that your devices are secure at all times. Make sure you get regular reports on scans so that you can manage your devices.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, cybersecurity is a necessity now more than ever before, so ensure you have excellent digital defenses.

When working with confidential online files at home, it’s crucial to secure all aspects of your devices such as USB ports, printers, storage, and cameras.

By installing all the cybersecurity software and regularly inspecting your devices, you can minimize the chances of getting attacked by hackers. You don’t have the inspection and maintenance expertise of your IT department on your home network, so it’s up to you to secure your systems.

If you’re unsure which cybersecurity platforms to use, talk to an expert. It’s worth the effort!

Infographic - Cybersecurity Tips for Remote Healthcare Workers

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