Digital Hygiene: The most important lesson that COVID-19 has taught u

The pandemic has put everything our civilization has created to the test. 2020 has been a difficult year for both business and personal lives. Having to work from home has amplified security challenges that have plagued organizations for a very long time.

Making the shift to home-based work has created a very fertile hunting ground for hackers who aim at stealing data and scamming individuals. Having people work from home means they have to be constantly communicating over the internet and this creates new avenues for attackers to try and hack unsuspecting targets.

In 2020 so far, there have been serious security breaches to both large and small companies that have cost billions worth of US dollars. In South Africa alone, in the experience data breach, more than 24 million South Africans had their personal records handed over to attackers impersonating as a client. In August 2020, Garmin, the company behind the Strava fitness app was attacked and had to pay $USD 10 million in ransom to hackers.

The security situation online has become a pandemic within a pandemic and all companies should find lasting measures to ensure they have limited exposure to attackers. IT security is no longer the responsibility of IT teams and security professionals alone, it should become a shared responsibility for all.

Here are some basics on what to do while you work from home to ensure that you are safe.

  • Always confirm communication coming from your employer
  • Do not open emails with attachments before making sure they are safe
  • Only allow site that are secured with SSL (sites that have a green key in the address bar)
  • Only use tools and platforms approved by your IT Team
  • Be careful when sharing corporate content online
  • Use a VPN whenever possible
  • Do not click suspicious links

This list is not exhaustive but it provides some of the guidelines that every person who has access to a computer or a smartphone should be aware of.

Digital hygiene is now a shared responsibility. Help spread digital hygiene and not viruses