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Working from home – keeping your guard up

Over the last week a huge number of UK organisations have opted to take the step to work from home, trying to protect their workers from the Covid-19 pandemic. For many firms this will be a completely novel and almost untested way of working. Many would have even believed it to not be possible to have such a large portion of their work force to work remotely. It has happened though. As of right now, I am typing this from a wooden chair looking out onto the garden with the neighbour’s cats gazing curiously back.

The work that has gone toward putting these systems in place has had many IT teams stretched and working around the clock to implement them. PKF Francis Clark has been fortunate that we already have such systems in place as part of our business continuity plans and so, although still a large body of work, many things had already been accounted for.

With IT support staff working flat out, one way that you can help them is by maintaining a good level of personal security whilst you work remotely. If you aren’t working on a company issued device but are instead working on a personal device, then you likely won’t have the same security features in place to protect your new working environment. Unfortunately, there are those out there seeking to take advantage of the current situation by preying on people’s desire for information about the pandemic and keeping themselves safe.

Here are some things you can do help secure yourself, and your work:

  • Be wary of email scams
    Phishing is always on the top of our list as it is looking to exploit us as people. If you receive any messages asking you to perform an action that is out of the ordinary or is trying to get you to perform it urgently, think twice. Check where it is from and if need be contact the person who sent it separately to confirm what they want. This is not just for email but phone call and text as well
  • Make sure your device is up to date
    Outdated software can be exploited with malware allowing programs such as key-loggers to be put on your device
  • Update your anti-virus
    Your anti-virus should be set to update every 24 hours. This makes sure it has the most recent definitions for malware to help detect it. If you’re worried about having to buy an anti-virus, the stock ones such as Windows Defender are sufficient provided they are kept updated
  • Use a firewall
    A firewall can stop unauthorised access to your machine by checking incoming and outgoing connections. Many home routers will come with one already installed but a software firewall on your machine is also a good idea. The default one for the operating system should be OK for this
  • Set your anti-virus to scan web pages
    Your anti-virus can be set to automatically scan web pages on opening them which means that if you accidentally click on a link you shouldn’t, it can help to protect you from that mistake. You can find plugins for this on your browsers depending on what anti-virus you have

Whilst the measures that we’re all putting in place now are temporary, they present an opportunity to those malicious actors trying to profit off of this. Sensible precautions will help to see us through, on all fronts.

If you have any questions or would like a chat whilst stuck in isolation, please get in touch with us through: cyber@pkf-francisclark.co.uk

FEATURING: Peter Lannon
Peter has developed years’ worth of both practical and technical knowledge whilst working within the Royal Marines’ electronic warfare squadron where he specialised in secure… read more
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