CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still working from home, and others have made the transition to remote work full time. More hours spent online means more opportunities for cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive information.
As Southern Utah’s “Internet People,” the experts at InfoWest offer cybersecurity tips to help provide peace of mind and a secure environment when working from home.
“We’re constantly trying to keep up with technology and make it applicable to our customers,” said Cassidy Larson, chief technology officer for InfoWest.
“We want to make their lives easier.”
Make sure your connected devices are up to date
Your connected devices will likely alert you when software updates become available. These updates are provided regularly to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting weaknesses in operating systems, programs or apps.
To help safeguard your data, install the latest software as soon as possible. Consider enabling automatic updates to make sure all your connected devices, including smartphones, are always up to date.
Protect your data with a virtual private network
A VPN secures the information users transmit through data encryption. With a VPN, your important data, including financial documents and emails, can’t be viewed by anyone without access. Some companies will enable VPN security for remote workers on their work devices, but Larson said it’s worthwhile to take the initiative yourself.
“Working from home comes with a level of responsibility to maintain security standards that would normally be provided to you when working in the office,” he added.
Secure your home network
Larson said encrypting your WiFi network at home is a must. This makes it harder for others to gain access to your devices or data sent through your router. Update all default passwords on routers and other devices.
InfoWest has made it easier than ever to monitor your home network with the Connect Plus mobile app. When network features are enabled, users will receive alerts if malicious parties try to gain access to their network. Connect Plus is available to anyone, not just InfoWest customers.
Create strong passwords
May 6 is World Password Day. Intel created World Password Day to address the critical need for hacker-proof passwords. Devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, should require that a password or PIN be entered before anyone can use them.
To help prevent identity theft and other cybercrimes, the experts at InfoWest recommend creating passwords that are longer than 10 characters and include a special symbol like $, #, & or *. Don’t use common words or phrases and try to avoid passwords that would be easy to guess, like your pet’s name.
Watch for scams
Cybercriminals have been working overtime throughout the pandemic, Larson said, adding that many InfoWest customers have reported an increase in fake emails. Scammers use email or text messages to trick people into giving out personal information, often by posing as a company that victims know and trust.
Authentic emails from a trusted service will never ask for your password, banking information or Social Security number. The Federal Trade Commission provides more helpful information on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
Enable multifactor authentication
Multifactor authentication helps keep data secure by requiring at least two methods of verifying someone’s identity before they can gain access to a specific device or account. These methods include passwords and PIN numbers or fingerprint and facial recognition.
Many apps and programs are now requiring multifactor authentication, while others offer it as an option for added protection. The experts at InfoWest recommend enabling multifactor authentication whenever possible, but especially when protecting your most sensitive data like email, financial accounts and health records.
Designed to work in conjunction with the Connect Plus app for added convenience and security, InfoWest also provides managed router services for residential internet customers. Managed routers offer advanced features like gigabit capability for fiber subscribers, dual-band connectivity and Voice over Internet Protocol ports.
InfoWest offers multiple solutions to fit any work-from-home situation. Call their experts at 866-463-6937 to find options in your area and get started.
“Our mission is providing the ultimate internet experience one customer at a time,” Larson said.
Learn more about InfoWest’s products, services and community outreach on their website.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- InfoWest | Telephone: 866-463-6937 | Website.
- St. George: 435 E. Tabernacle St.
- Cedar City: 360 W. 200 North.
- Cedar City: 755 S. Main St., Suite 5.
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