Just like viruses that spread when we don’t protect ourselves, a computer virus also spreads when we don’t protect our devices. The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced much of the workforce to work remotely to help slow the spread of the disease. To keep your computer safe while working from home, take these steps.
A virus close to you easily transfers and infects you. A computer virus on your network can also easily infect your computer. Good network separation in the computer world equates to social distancing in the real world. The more barriers you have in the network that don’t significantly limit availability the better protected you are.
While working remotely, you no longer benefit from the layers of security deployed at your company’s network perimeter. The use of a full tunnel VPN, where all traffic from the PC goes through the VPN, provides the best protection in this case. Sometimes this isn’t possible, especially since most businesses don’t purchase a firewall to support everyone working from home. You may use a split tunnel VPN, where only critical traffic goes through the VPN to take pressure off the firewall.
Your endpoint antivirus protects computers like soap protects your body. Whether you have a full or split VPN tunnel, you must have a endpoint antivirus on the host computer with updated signatures. Along with your AV you should also deploy something like DNSWatch which actively protects your computer from malicious sites by neutering malicious domains.
Attackers have already started using COVID-19 as a lure for phishing emails. If you receive a suspicious or unexpected email, you must use caution when opening it to ensure you don’t get infected. This holds especially true when working from home. Because users no longer talk face to face, a malicious actor could take advantage of this and fool you into giving up private information. Additionally, we expect to see more scam emails claiming to be health organizations and government offices related to COVID-19 also trying to get banking details or other private information. Look out for these emails and always check links before clicking on them.
While working, ensure you take breaks. Keeping focused on your work ensures you don’t make mistakes and accidently click a malicious link. Also ensure that only you use the computer when working from home. Keeping a device clear of malware requires that you fallow these steps. If someone else uses your computer, they may unknowingly put your computer as risk. Keep your computer locked to prevent this.
If you do notice any malware on your computer, don’t fear contacting your IT department. They probably also work from home and know how difficult it is. Using these steps protects your own computer as well at the company’s computers to keep you working. For more suggestions on how to protect your devices while working from home see The 443 podcast coming out next week.