Many Americans continue to work from home as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. Retail furniture and home goods stores report backorders of desks and office equipment as workers create new office space in their homes. However, another consideration when creating that home workspace that can’t be overlooked (but sometimes is) is the cyber security of electronic devices.

The FBI has reported an increase in cyber crime related to the coronavirus. To stay safe, consider these safety tips when working from home:

  1. Create Strong Passwords
    These should be uncommon and hard to crack like a special phrase with at least 12 characters and the use of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using personal information and don’t use the same password for other accounts.
  2. Install Updates
    Install the latest updates for all your devices, programs and apps to boost your online security. When possible, opt for automatic updates.
  3. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
    Many websites require you to confirm your identity via another device when logging in somewhere new or when using a different device than usual. Up your security by requiring a password for online video conference calls.
  4. Invest in VPN Software
    If your company doesn’t offer Virtual Private Network software, consider investing in it yourself. The software, such as NordVPN and ExpressVPN, secures your network to reduce the risk of hacks.

Also be on the lookout for fake or phishing emails. At first glance, these may look like they’re coming from a friend or work colleague but review the sender’s address before opening. Hover, don’t click on the link to read the URL. A misspelled or incorrect address could indicate that it’s bogus. In addition, watch out for messages promoting fear that require immediate action and a deadline–these are typically fake. If you receive such emails, report it to your IT department and/or follow company protocol.

With kids spending more time on online virtual learning classes at home, they can become targets too. First, know what your kids are up to. Understand the sites they visit for school and for recreation and consider installing Youtube for Kids instead of regular Youtube. Contact your internet provider to block certain potentially dangerous websites from your network. Set ground rules regarding sites they can visit or require them to stay nearby when using their devices. Above all, have a conversation on rules for responsible behavior online.

Let’s all stay safe and alert during these very challenging times.

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