Working from home security privacy risks – How to protect yourself

Remote working can be a blessing. Time with family, reduced travel, and meetings from the comfort of your couch. Not so much in the current circumstance, when you add homeschooling to the daily agenda.

But as millions in Australia are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they could be putting the security and privacy of themselves, their families and their employers at significant personal and financial risk.

We’re all using collaboration tools, such as Teams, Zoom, Slack, HouseParty and many more to communicate to colleagues and friends.

Be aware that these tools such as Zoom, allow hosts to track participants behaviour, including whether you are in the Zoom window (as opposed to playing a game or checking email, for instance). Zoom also collects a lot of personal information such as participant’s operating system, location data, IP address, and even what kind of device you’re using.

For some working remotely is a completely new experience. People are celebrating by using the #WorkFromHome hashtag on social media and sharing posts that include photos of home office setups, friends and family members.

This can actually expose a variety of sensitive personal information about you, your employer and those around you.

Posting photos of your WFH environment, which happen to have mail items or delivery packages, can disclose your address. On social sharing photos and names of family members or pets may provide hints about your passwords or even expose your location.

Remote working is a security nightmare for companies. As remote access to corporate networks is rolled out, cybercriminals have a much larger attack surface.

Cybercriminals are well aware of this and have already begun to launch targeted attacks. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, coronavirus-related fraud reports are now costing 1 Million dollars a day.

There have been scams offering $2,500 from the government and others pretending to be the COVID-19 safety line.

Cybercriminals have impersonated the World Health Organization and extortion emails are doing the rounds that threaten to infect you with COVID-19 unless you pay up.

These risks are increased as the reality is that many of us will be using personal, and potentially less secure home devices. Most people aren’t used to or trained in maintaining workplace security practices over long periods at homes.

How to stay safe

  • Be careful what you post. Check that there is no potentially sensitive information in what you post. Once it’s out there, it’s there, forever;
  • Before using collaboration tools, consult your employer or IT provider;
  • Protect your devices. Have up to date anti-virus software installed, ensure operating systems are patched/updated regularity, implement multi-factor authentication (so that multiple pieces of information are required for someone to log in, such as username and password and a text message), and do not click on links in email and SMS without being a thousand per cent sure they are legitimate;
  • Zoom Bombing and other forms of hijacking can be prevented. Share links with only invited parties. Configure Zoom to only allow the host to share screen, as appropriate. And be cautious with file sharing to stop spreading files that may contain viruses;
  • Avoid letting family members use employer-provided IT devices;
  • Contact POSmate for assistance & guidance; and
  • More tips are available through the Australian Cyber Security Centre.


Call us on 1300 767 688 if you need assistance with your IT Managed Services.


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