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More and more employers are allowing their employees to work remotely, and that means they’re establishing new or revised teleworking policies and security procedures. Many people wonder if security procedures are really so important. The quick answer is yes, because a security breach could have a profound financial impact on employers, customers and even employees. Some of the most serious of these threats include the potential for cybercriminals to have direct access to personal and corporate accounts and sensitive information and the exposure of customer data. The damage could have far-reaching and long-lasting effects. But you can be an effective front line of defense.

  1. Know your company’s teleworking policies. It may seem simple, but reading your company’s policies is the first thing you can do to avoid mistakes. You won’t know the do’s and don’ts if you haven’t read them.
  2. Keep software up to date and your computer and other devices secure. Before you begin, turn on system firewalls and enable full disk encryption. Make sure you have the latest version of your tools and programs and that they’re updated each time there’s a new version. It really does make a difference.
    • Anti-virus software
    • Operating system
    • Web browser
    • PDF reader
    • Software program
    • Video conferencing
  3. Make sure your wireless network connection is secure. You’ll need to make sure your router’s settings have the appropriate encryption setting. Keep in mind that baby monitors, smart appliances and other devices that use the internet could be entry points for attacks.
    • Use WPA3-A3S configuration or, if that isn’t available, WPA-2AES
    • Create a strong password
    • Enable the firewall
  4. Always connect to a secure network. If available, always use your company’s virtual private network (VPN) to access accounts.
  5. Use strong passwords and multifactor authentication. It’s much harder to hack complex sign in credentials, so create long passwords or passphrases that only you would know.

    Multifactor authentication is an extra layer of protection where your identity is verified at sign in using 2 or more pieces of information. Examples include biometrics (e.g., fingerprint and facial recognition) or one-time passcodes.

    Some people like using a personal password manager like 1Password, Dashlane or the LastPass app to keep track of all their passwords. Check your organization’s policy to make sure using a password manager isn’t prohibited.
  6. Log out of applications and turn off equipment when not in use. This prevents hackers from installing malware that could allow them to gain access to your devices―including your computer’s webcam.
  7. Watch out for phishing scams. Cybercriminals tend to ramp up their illegal activity during times of uncertainty or crisis and take advantage of current events to create convincing messages. Don’t click on any links, download files or respond to emails from unknown or suspicious senders, especially if they ask for personal information or sign in credentials. Being cautious can help stop hackers from infecting your devices with ransomware, viruses and other online threats.
  8. Avoid sharing devices. Avoid using the same devices for both work and personal use, where possible. And, don’t share a device used for work with family and friends.
  9. Secure your audio and video conferences. Some conferencing tools have experienced issues with uninvited participants joining private conferences. To keep out unwanted “guests,” make sure you set a password or unique code for each meeting and don’t share them publicly. Verify attendee names and call-in phone numbers after they join and lock your meeting after everyone has joined.
  10. Act quickly if you suspect a problem. You may see clues that your computer could be compromised.
    • A new homepage or default search engine
    • Software message saying you have a virus or malware
    • Significant decrease in computer performance
    • Sudden increase in pop-up ads or spam
    • Frequent error messages
    Or, you may realize that you’ve given out sensitive information by mistake. If you think you’ve been a victim of cybercrime, don’t wait. Immediately inform your supervisor and/or IT department to limit potential damage.

At Navy Federal Credit Union, we take your financial security seriously. To learn more about protecting yourself against scammers and other ways to defend against cybercriminals, check out our Security Center.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.