The unfortunate reality is that you are at the same risk level at work as you are anyplace else. In other words, you should protect yourself at work as if you are using a public Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop. Why is that? Email phishing and infected websites (e.g., with ransomware) are two of the most prevalent types of Internet security risks.
Most of the things that you can do to protect yourself are simple, common sense actions that you can easily control: Internet security is not really about complex, expensive or pervasive technology. Unfortunately, the bad guys prey on the fact that most people won’t follow these simple rules.
Here are some basic yet effective tips on helping to protect both you and your employer:
- Keep your browser up to date with the latest installations
- Don’t click on links in emails that you are not absolutely sure are safe
- Use antivirus products that have URL safe lists and block known harmful sites
- If you are making an online purchase, never enter your credit card unless you see that the site uses SSL (i.e., HTTPS) to keep your credit card secure while the data transits the Internet
- An up to date browser has everything you will need to browse the Internet. If a web site asks you to download something, the general rule is DON’T
- In email remember the most basic principle of all: no business or organization that you already have a relationship with is going to ask you for sensitive or private information. If an email is asking you for anything like that, it is likely an attempt to steal your identity
- This one will make your eyes roll, but it’s true: use strong passwords and change them periodically
Brad Johnson is Vice President of SystemExperts Corporation and has been a leader of the company since 1995. He has participated in seminal industry initiatives including the Open Software Foundation (OSF), X/Open, the IETF, and has published many articles on open systems, Internet security, security architecture, ethical hacking and web application security.