The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people do their daily work. People have been working from locations such as coffee shops, hotels, and even on public transportation for some time now. With the entire workforce being sent home, people have realized they can work from any location if they have an internet connection. However, keeping our personal and work-related information secure is a concern when working in public places.
Here are a few suggestions when working in public spaces:
- Do not turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity unless you plan to connect to a network or Bluetooth device. Leaving these entryways open can inadvertently allow a criminal to gain access to your device.
- Do not connect to free public Wi-Fi or public Wi-Fi with a public password. These networks are not secure and allow anyone to connect with no regulation so your data would be vulnerable to compromise.
- Use your mobile hotspot if another secure Wi-Fi is not available. Most cell phone providers offer mobile hotspots you can turn on as needed from your cell phone. The connection is secure because it is password protected and available through your personal mobile connection.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when possible. VPNs secure your connection keeping the information you transmit or receive secure.
- When charging your mobile device, make sure to use a plug-to-outlet charger. Public USB ports can be hacked or contain a virus that can leave you compromised.
- Do not leave equipment unattended or unlocked. It only takes a minute for someone to steal your device or data when you are distracted.
- Use a privacy filter on your laptop screen to prevent other people from seeing the information displayed on the screen while working.
- Sit with your back to the wall when possible. This will further prevent others from seeing the personal data on your mobile device.
In the case your device is stolen, the following suggestions could help prevent the perpetrator from gaining access to the information stored on the device.
- Set up remote wipe. Remote wipe of a device can be initiated from a computer with internet connection in the case your device is stolen.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA can prevent others from gaining access to your device or accounts as it requires two of the following methods to authenticate: something you are, something you have, something you know.
- Encrypt device. If a laptop is encrypted, the bad actor would not be able to access the information store on the device even if they were able to remove the hard drive.
Lastly, criminals rely on people letting their guard down so stay vigilant.