As a remote worker, how can you better protect yourself and your personal information on your travels? In an ideal world, there would be magical tips to 100% safeguard you from cyberattacks, but, unfortunately, it is very difficult to prevent. There is no way to know what the next breach target is or when it could occur. The only guarantee you have is that another breach will happen, and the odds are that your personal, or professional, data is at risk. There are steps you can take to reduce the impact when any of your information does get taken. You can go to extremes – cancel all credit cards, just use cash, close all your social media and online accounts, but nobody wants to live that way either. The key is balancing the risks. Talking to many of the ‘road warriors’ within LANDESK, I put together some tips and tricks to mitigate the impact if our information becomes exposed whilst working on the move.
Change Your Credit Cards
Hotels and retailers have been among the most commonly breached organisations and as a road warrior, your card details may be in their system. To ensure that your card number doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, report that your card has been stolen, lost or is missing to the issuing company at least annually. This allows you to receive a new credit card number and invalidates the old one. This will prevent the risk of credit card information breaches from the hotel chains and retailers you may frequent. By changing your credit card number, the information stolen in these breaches is useless and cannot harm you.
Don’t Trust the Wi-Fi
You never know what or who is observing traffic on public Wi-Fi or if the connection you are on has been compromised. Public Wi-Fi can be easily hijacked – even hotel Wi-Fi can be easily breached. To protect yourself, limit your use of any public wireless environments. When you do go online at the airport or a coffee shop, login immediately to your corporate network before connecting to email or opening your browser. If your employer is wise to security practices, using your corporate VPN will provide an additional layer of encrypted protection from prying eyes.
Be Sure Your Computer is Up to Date
Computers that are running older operating environments or applications are more at risk to security vulnerabilities. If your computer is due for a system upgrade, contact your corporate helpdesk to request necessary patches and security updates. By keeping your system and your applications current, you can easily prevent known security breaches from penetrating your computer and the corporate systems it may connect to.
Restrict Your Privileges
On the road, you may not need access to all the same applications and resources you use when in the office. Endpoint systems – such as your laptop, tablet and smartphone – are the easiest way in for most cyber threats and malware. One thing you can do to defend against such risks is restricting your use of privileged accounts while working on the go. There are solutions that will automate the control of your privilege accounts and application use based on policies including environment context, such as when working outside the corporate network. This can prevent troublesome cyberattacks from penetrating your computer and compromising your entire corporate network.
Finally, make sure to take your time when travelling. Appreciate you are on the move – don’t answer emails whilst walking and double check everything you click on, appreciating that you are not in the office. The key here is to adjust your work/life balance and be aware of where and how you work.
By Simon Townsend at Landesk