Most Internet safety in the workplace is just common sense — good passwords, “think before you click,” etc. — but it is still challenging to remember those rules all the time. Even one slip-up can lead to disaster. Perhaps thinking of it the same way you do about safety at home (especially if you have young kids around!) would help. Here are some common-sense rules for Internet safety at work.
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Passwords – The First Line of Defense
Everyone knows that you should have passwords that are hard to guess or generate by automated means using personal data. It’s worth the headache to use more complex passwords — rather than “Passord1!” for example — and keep track of them in a systematic way, so you can use different passwords for every account. A common strategy for a hacker is to snag a password from a low-security source and then apply that or its obvious variations to the more sophisticated accounts that you have, so treat every account as if it’s your bank account.
Protect Your Computer
It is safest to have all of the current versions of software, since those periodic updates typically have security upgrades included. Also, let the IT experts at your company do the updates — a common phishing scam is to have what looks like an update to security software pop up on your screen, telling you to install the latest version of something. Don’t do it!
Think before you enter personal or business information online. Is there a legitimate need to know on the other end? Social security numbers are often requested because they are the easiest ID, but in many cases they’re not required. On the business side, anything that would be useful to a competitor should be treated like your own SSN. Organizational data, contact info, customers, personnel, financial data … most companies tell you to refer any such inquiries to a specific point of contact to evaluate all of them and reply appropriately.
Be Alert for E-Mail Scams
Everyone’s inbox is too full, so it’s easy to lose focus when scanning through e-mails. Sophisticated scams can target business recipients with tailored e-mails, so they look like a legitimate inquiry, not the usual well-known e-mail scams. If you didn’t ask for it, look very carefully before opening it. You can usually spot something that’s not quite right.
Think Before You Click
Apart from those scams, malicious content can appear in an email, typically in attachments or links. Even if it’s from someone you know, it might not be legitimate. Just check with the person before doing anything with the email.
Be Careful Out There!
People traveling on business or even just using public Wi-Fi are the best targets for hackers. Victims often forget they aren’t within a firewall and do all the same things they do in a secure environment. It’s worth it to use a more secure option (even if it costs something) rather than public Wi-Fi. Ideally, your company has a secure VPN. Don’t complain if it takes a minute or two to log into it — it might take a YEAR or two to reverse damage done by a hacker who gets into your system via public Wi-Fi.
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