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Tech tips

Working from home? You need a VPN now more than ever

Presented by ExpressVPN

Presented by ExpressVPN

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You’ve heard Kim talk about how important it is to have a virtual private network (VPN). Now that a lot of you are working from home, it’s even more important to choose a VPN you can trust.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many companies across the U.S. to have employees work from home (WFH). That means it’s not just the personal information stored on your device at risk from security threats, but also your work data.

If you’re working from home, adapting to this new environment comes with perks and perils, both to your online security and sanity. To help navigate this COVID-19 situation, here is a list of ways to keep your remote work environment safe and secure, as well as keeping your wits about you while stuck at home.

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9 ways to work from home safely and securely

1. Lock your screen when taking a break

Locking your screen when you leave it unattended prevents people from snooping around your files. Here’s how to lock your screen:

For Mac users: Press Command + Control + Q.

For Windows users: Press the Windows key + L.

2. Separate your work from your personal life online

Ideally, you want to keep your work documents and communication on a work computer, and your personal browsing on a different device. If this isn’t possible, create separate users or accounts to deal with the different correspondence.

Another option, if your browser allows for it, is to create browser compartments to separate your work and leisure in the same browser.

3. Enable two-factor authentication on your work accounts

We always recommend using two-factor authentication (2FA) where available to secure accounts with more than just a password. This greatly reduces the risk of a brute-force hack where criminals steal personal information from your accounts. Tap or click here for more 2FA details.

4. Use encrypted messaging and storage systems

You’re probably already using encrypted software like G Suite to do most of your work online. Slack is a popular messaging tool for many companies, but remember it is not end-to-end encrypted. For any conversations you wish to keep private, use an E2E encrypted messaging app.

5. Avoid clicking links from unexpected emails

Always be cautious with links found inside unsolicited emails. This is especially true when working from home since those messages could be phishing attacks that could steal sensitive business and personal data.

6. Keep all of your devices updated

This is a no-brainer. Always keep your devices and apps up to date. Download and install updates as soon as they are available to protect your devices from known vulnerabilities.

7. Avoid Wi-Fi networks that you don’t control

If you’re working in a public space and need to connect to Wi-Fi with an admin that isn’t you, be extremely careful. You must use a VPN to prevent Wi-Fi administrators from looking at your browsing activity and hackers from performing man-in-the-middle attacks.

Your company might already be using a corporate VPN if it needs you to access information for internal use. But if not, investing in a VPN that is fast, secure and easy to use will secure your connection when using public networks.

8. Avoid public USB chargers

Convenient they may be, but public USB chargers leave you vulnerable to “juice-jacking,” where hackers modify the port so it uploads malware into unsuspecting devices. Instead, plug your device into your laptop and consider getting a travel charging station for future use.

9. Be mindful of who can see your screen

When you’re making video calls, check that your background is relatively clear or devoid of any items you might not want your colleagues to see. If you’re working in a public space, it’s a good habit to check who may be close enough to get a look at your screen or keyboard when you’re logging into email or other sensitive accounts.

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