Working from Home Due to COVID-19? Protect Yourself from Cyberattacks

As we start to get used to living in a world where COVID-19 is changing everything, one of the differences that many have people are doing is working from home. With so many people now working on their home networks, cybercriminals are stepping up, and they are hoping to take advantage of people making security mistakes and doing more searches, specifically on COVID-19. This is a great opportunity for these thieves to target their victims.


Keep in mind that most people who are working from home are not working on a very secure network. Cyber attackers know this, and its important that both individuals and companies take the steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 and their information.

What Can Companies Do?

During this time, managers, owners, and supervisors should be setting clear expectations about how their businesses are going to work in these new environments. When these changes come down, they should come from the top. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You Must Understand the Threats – Business leaders should understand what threats are likely and prioritize protection methods based on that.
  • You Must Release Clear Guidance – It is also important that your organization’s at-home policies are easy to understand for all employees. This should include informing staff to communicate with security teams in the case of suspicious activity.
  • You Must Offer the Right Security – All business leaders should ensure that any company-owned devices are equipped with the best security capabilities. This includes the following:
    • The ability to connect securely to a business-owned cloud, and access to video teleconferencing apps that are important for remote workers.
    • Endpoint protection for all mobile devices and laptops including VPN tools and encryption.
    • Enforce the use of multi-factor authentication.
    • The ability to put a block on malware, exploits, and other threats using the best types of software and hardware.
    • A plan to filter any malicious domain URLS and stop any phishing attacks.

What Can Individuals Do?

People working from home should also take steps to ensure that they are remaining safe when working remotely.  Here are some things to do:

  • Create Strong Passwords – You should always create strong passwords and consider a password manager to facilitate multiple passwords opposed to the same passwords across multiple accounts.
  • Update Software and Systems – Install any system updates or patches as soon as you see them.
  • Make Sure Your Wi-Fi Access Point is Secure – Look at your Wi-Fi access point and make sure to change the passwords and default settings.
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) – A VPN is a good way to create a safe connection between a home computer and the worker’s organization.
  • Be Smart About COVID – 19 Scams – There are a ton of scams out there, including fake apps, so be smart.
  • Don’t Mix Work and Personal Tasks – Use your work device for your work and your personal device for personal tasks.

By taking these steps into consideration, either as a business leader or an employee, you can help to address some of the most common risks that you might face when working from home. Keep all of these tips in mind, and if something seems a little weird or strange, it’s probably best to report it to your company’s IT professional.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity and Personal Protection security awareness training program.

Work at Home Environment is a Safe, Secure Solution

There was a time when online dating was a novelty, perceived as unsafe. Today, 59 percent of people agree that online dating is a good way to meet others (Pew Research, 2015). In fact, it’s the preferred method of matchmaking. A different online environment with similar views from the public is working from home. People who want to work at home fear its safety and security, understandably. But working from home is already a safe and secure proposition as far as finding a job and creating a safe environment in your home.

12DStart with reputable “outsource” companies.

Avoid the potential of being scammed. Outsourcers are the companies that agents form partnerships. The big, well-known organizations that want the best people at its frontlines go to outsourcers that have already vetted work at home agents. Additionally, outsourcers that provide work at home opportunities often provide clients with secure platforms and the best tools necessary for both agents, clients and customers to be successful in their interactions. Outsourcers often provide the most legitimate telecommuting opportunities. One such provider is Arise Virtual Solutions.

Customer service jobs.

Think of companies that have big customer support departments. Many have opportunities for working at home because, as you may have guessed, this saves companies money. However, work at home opportunities also bring forth an agent who is highly motivated, has a specialized skillset, and provides enhanced customer experiences. Outsourcers work across industries from energy to credit card companies and everything in between that field customer inquiries all day (and night) long.

Do your research to find the right opportunity.

Work-at-Home Sites

These sites specialize in work-at-home listings or leads. Make sure that the site you use has an explicit screening policy to filter out scams. Read about the website itself before diving into the listings. Realize that the listings on these sites may simply be links to other legitimate sites that have listings, rather than a straight path to an opportunity.

Work-at-Home Forums

Here you’ll find what other telecommuters have to say, including their warnings. You may even create a thread to start a discussion or ask for help.

How to Ensure Your Home Workplace Is Safe, Sound and Efficient

Now that you’ve taken the leap and found that perfect work at home solution, it’s time to create a safe and productive environment in your home to get to work.

It is likely the outsourcer you partner with will make numerous recommendations in regards to a safe and comfortable working environment. And, they will want to make sure you are legitimate in regards to your credibility and commitment. Expect to learn and take courses to succeed; you may even pay for courses. Expect to pay for a background check.

To get started they will most likely request fundamentals like effective hardware (computers and telephones/headsets) and software (security software, VPNs, call center software) and basic requirements like a comfortable chair and quiet setting.

The following are a few things to consider:

  • Make the workstation quiet and free of distractions (internal and external). Think: young kids or baby, sick family member, new puppy, home construction, neighbor’s incessantly barking dog, party next door etc.
  • Make the room temperature comfortable considering windows may need to be closed.
  • Avoid tripping hazards by keeping cords under a desk or secured along the wall.
  • Establish an escape route from the work room should there be a fire or other disturbance.
  • Think home security. Never leave the window open if you’re gone from the room for extended periods. Consider installing a home security system.
  • Keep the work room clean, void of clutter and flammable substances. Don’t smoke in it.
  • Don’t eat at your computer. Keep liquids in spill resistant containers.
  • The computer should be connected to a surge protector.
  • Make sure the workstation is ergonomic including a great chair with good back support or a backless ergo chair.
  • Never be in your chair for longer than one hour at a time. Ideally, take five-minute movement breaks out of the chair for every 30 minutes spent sitting. Consider getting an alternate stand up desk.
  • Use a headset and a quality phone.

It’s really not that complicated. If the job doesn’t directly involve hands on work, tools, or face to face involvement, then for the environment and quality of life, work at home and telecommuting is the best option.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal privacy, security  and identity theft expert to Arise discussing identity theft prevention. Disclosures.