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Tips for teleworking without putting your data and those of your company at risk

Rodrigo Alonso




The arrival of coronavirus Spain has motivated many workers to be forced to work from home. A necessary measure to limit the risk posed by the pandemic scenario in which we find ourselves. However, precautions should not remain in staying at home. And is that cybercriminals can take advantage of any gap in their systems to attack them. They have made this clear recently, trying to take advantage of the concern caused by the disease. So if you want to be safe, or at least as much as possible on the internet, it is important that you follow a series of recommendations. Regardless of whether it is an individual or a company.

Beware of passwords

Having a strong password is one of the first steps that must be taken to protect our access to online work platforms and for other essential tools, such as email. And obviously for this not any key is worth. “A good password must be of considerable length and intelligible. The user must never use a word that has to do with it, such as his month of birth or his name. It must also have special numbers, letters and signs, such as asterisks or dollar symbols, “the” hacker “tells ABC. Deepak Daswani.

Avoid public WiFi

And if protecting passwords to online platforms is important, the same goes for Internet connection. Especially in cases where the worker is forced to use a public network. “A person who is working at home with their WiFi network should not have too many problems. The main risk is borne by those workers who use the internet of an airport or other type of public network. Those untrusted networks should be avoided as much as possible. In case we have no other option, it is necessary to take extreme precautions. Use a VPN or similar », he tells this newspaper Jose De la Cruz, technical director of the cybersecurity company Trend Micro.

Use common sense

Another of the threats that the worker must bear in mind, especially in a situation such as the current one, are the phishing risks. That is, cyber-scams in which an attacker, using social engineering, impersonates an agency or user in order to steal data that can range from passwords, from social networks or banks, to directly stealing money by posing as a business legitimate. “It is important that the worker behaves at home exactly as he would in his work environment. Do not click on suspicious links and use common sense when you receive an email or a message that, at first glance, is suspicious. That devices intended for work leisure are not used either. Separating the professional from the personal is the first step to apply, ”says De la Cruz.

The expert highlights, in turn, the need to exercise extreme precautions against possible attacks: «Cyber ​​criminals take advantage of situations such as the coronavirus to deceive the user. In order to infect your devices with “malware” (computer virus). Here again common sense must prevail. If, for example, I get a message supposedly from the Post Office asking me to come and pick up a package, the first thing I have to think about is if I’m really waiting for a shipment. In case you arouse suspicions, what you should do is contact the company through another channel that, presumably, has sent me the message ».

It should be remembered that criminals have already tried to exploit the fear of coronavirus online. At the end of February, the cybersecurity company Kaspersky reported that documents infected with “malware” were apparently running online, apparently offering coronavirus information. From videos with instructions to protect yourself from chinese virus, up to updates on the threat and even procedures to detect it.

“We know that cybercriminals tend to exploit popular topics with great repercussion in the media, as they are the most wanted by users. The probability of a person downloading a malicious file, whose appearance is that of someone related to a current issue, is higher, “he explained to this newspaper. Vladimir Kuskov, head of threat research at Kaspersky.

The benefits (and risks) of VPN

Monitoring data and ensuring access only to essential users is key to ensuring the normal course of work. This is something that can be achieved through the use of a VPN. However, it is essential that you make good use of the platform; since, in case one makes a mistake, can compromise company-wide systems.

“VPN is a method of providing security when you are on an unreliable network, such as an airport. Thanks to it, it is guaranteed that all the data of a worker will travel through it. However, in the current context, we are talking about a facilitator so that users can work exactly the same as in their usual positions. And this, in the end, becomes a risk. If you misuse the equipment and end up infected with a computer virus, you will be putting all the company’s workers at risk, ”explains the technical director of Trend Micro.

And, in the event that a “malware” infected one of the computers, the rest of the devices within the VPN network would suffer the same effect. A good example was the ransomware attack, which hijacks computers and calls for a ransom to regain control, suffered at the end of last year by several Spanish companies, such as Prisa Radio or Prosegur. The latter was forced to halt all activity for more than a day because of the “hack.”


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