A growing number of Americans report working either from home or a location outside their office, at least some of the time. Even more are considered part of the so-called “gig economy.”
In May 2017, 5.9 million people in the U.S. reported holding “contingent” or temporary jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And there were 10.6 million people with “alternative work arrangements,” such as independent contractors.
With technology enabling so many of us to work remotely, it’s increasingly more important to keep cybersecurity in mind. Outside of your home or office, you may face additional risks of having your personal information compromised or stolen. Here are some suggestions to help keep you cyber safe:
— Use a VPN, or virtual private network. These services establish a secure, encrypted connection to your corporate network or to the internet. A variety of VPN services are available, some of them free.
— Keep your software updated and your information backed up. Ensuring you have the latest software updates means you’ll benefit from the latest security patches. Backing up your information means you’ll have it handy in case something does happen to it. Use strong passwords to help protect your devices and systems.
— Protect your screen. Consider using a privacy screen if you’re in a public place. Always lock your devices when you aren’t using them.
— Beware of public WiFi. Connect to any open WiFi in a public space with caution. Remember, just because a network requires a password doesn’t mean it’s secure. Avoid conducting activities like shopping or banking over public WiFi, and disable auto-connect on your devices so you won’t inadvertently connect to an unsafe network.
— Remember https. Only provide information to sites with an “https” in the URL. The “s” shows it’s a secure site; unsecure networks use “http.”
— Create your own hotspot. Many cell phones can be used as WiFi hotspots. Those rely on your cell phone carrier’s network to connect to the internet as an alternative to public WiFi and have custom password protection.
— Consider email encryption if you often email sensitive information. There are a variety of services available, including free services from some email providers.
— Keep an eye on your devices, including USB drives. Never leave them unattended.
— Use two-factor authentication where available.
— Stow laptops out of sight in a vehicle, such as in the trunk.
— When traveling, keep laptops in your carry-on luggage.
— Protect your passwords. Don’t store them on your computer or mobile device, or write them down where they can be seen.
No matter where you are, it’s always a good idea to avoid opening emails from unknown senders. Always remember that if you find anything suspicious about it don’t click links or download images. If you recognize the senders, check with them to see if they sent the email.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.