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Working from home and alternative office environments became more commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many offices have transitioned to fully remote and hybrid work schedules nearly 3 years on. Working from home can open the door to cyber vulnerabilities like phishing attacks and other scams. Knowing the cybersecurity basics, and putting them into practice, can help you protect your information and reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Although it’s important to be aware of cyber vulnerabilities no matter the season, the downtime around the holidays and into the new year can be a great time to reassess your work from home security.
When the coronavirus crisis hit, Nationwide acted swiftly to move almost 99% of its workforce to work from home (WFH) status. Now, many teams have shifted to a permanent WFH situation, and many have adopted a hybrid model. Regardless of WFH status, Nationwide takes all dimensions of protection seriously, as demonstrated by the extraordinary care taken to protect data and customer information while our associates work from home. We’d like to pass along some great information from our specialists to help you do the same.
Unfortunately, we tend to let our guard down at home—and scammers are counting on it. The best defense is to continue to practice the same good security habits enforced on your office network—like being on alert for social engineering scams and phishing attacks, and not writing down passwords, leaving sensitive information lying around or leaving devices unlocked.
Since home networks are not as secure as your corporate network, it’s important to take extra measures to ensure information is protected. We recommend avoiding unsecured public Wi-Fi networks and securing your home Wi-Fi network by changing its default settings and passwords.1 It’s also important to be aware of all devices connected to your home network. This could include everything from smart devices like thermostats and appliances to gaming consoles and TVs. Make sure the devices on your home network are protected with a strong password and all system updates have been applied.
Ensuring your devices remain up to date is critical. Updates help patch security flaws, protect your data and improve functionality by fixing outdated features. If automatic updates are an option, we recommend that you enable them.
Another way to help keep your information secure is by using long and complex passwords – at least 12 characters, with a mix of numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters – and by changing these passwords regularly.2 Also, instead of writing down passwords and leaving this information out in the open, consider using a password manager to securely store your passwords.
Remote work security has increasingly become more important No matter where you’re working, consider making these best practices your regular practice even after the pandemic.
As we wrap up another year, Nationwide is committed to providing you with the support and resources you need as we navigate today’s remote work environment together. We appreciate your partnership and the opportunity to work with you.
Federal Trade Commission. “Securing your Wireless Network.” 23 April 2020. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0013-securing-your-wireless-network#secure.