Social distancing is crucial while we’re all doing our parts to contain the spread of COVID-19. For many of us that means working from home. Me too; doing remote support calls from home.
Of course, as we all try to do the right thing, there are be some bad actors around trying to take advantage of the situation. Here are some tips from various cyber-law enforcement agencies for staying safe.
Make sure that your antimalware/antivirus is installed, turned on, and up to date. Be aware that no antimalware program is 100% protection: you are the front line defense, and be vigilant to odd behaviors and odd requests.
Check your browser for potentially malicious add-ons. (AKA “PUPs” – potentially unwanted programs.) Go to “Settings” in your browser(s) – Edge, Safari, Chrome, Brave, Firefox – and look for the “Extensions”. Remove any that are unrecognized, unneeded, or just weird. “Remove” is preferred to “Disable.” (Do this for each browser on your computer, separately.)
Do you have an automatic backup system in place and working? If not, set one up; right away. Fully automatic backup to the internet cloud is easiest and best. I, personally, use Carbonite on Windows, and recommend iDrive for Macs.
Secure your WiFi:
Most newer WiFi installations are secured by default, but older systems may not be. Does your WiFi require a password with a minimum of 8 characters? If so; you’re good. If not, check the settings for your WiFi and secure it!
Handling private or confidential information:
If your work involves confidential information – your client’s, your company’s, or your own, it is recommended that you use separate computers for work and leisure. Seriously; consider two computers, and avoid mixing work and non-work on the same machine. Especially if you’re not the only user of the non-work computer. A simple click on an innocent seeming link in an email that looks to be from a friend can end up exposing all the data on your computer, to some seriously bad people. Unlikely, maybe, but very possible.
Keep your passwords and accounts safe:
Consider using a “password safe” or “password manager” program. These let you safely keep all your passwords in an encrypted digital format, secured with its own password. But then you only have to remember that one to look up any other one. And, it’s much safer, and really, easier than a stack of paper scraps or an old notebook. (I use “mSecure.” I don’t shill for it, but I do use and recommend it.)
Stay in, and well. I’m always ready to do remote support sessions, especially during this crisis. Call if I can be of help: Mike Pepper, The Computer Guy. www.PawlingComputerGuy.com 845-855-5824