When you have the freedom to work from anywhere, it becomes extremely convenient to pull out your laptop and do some work from the airport or reply to a few emails on your phone from a coffee shop.
Unfortunately, when working in public places or while connected to public wifi, you are more at risk of having your data stolen or your accounts hacked.
Working securely as a digital nomad when traveling the world or as a remote based professional from any coffee shop is extremely important, because you don’t want to lose vital client or personal information. Luckily, there are some security measures you can put in place right away that will greatly reduce the likelihood of you falling victim to an attack.
Follow this advice to maintain secure remote work during your travels:
1. Use a VPN to connect to the internet and avoid public wifis
Public wifi can be very dangerous to use, as it is so easy for cyber attackers to break into. Avoid connecting to unsecured networks. If you must use public wifi, use a VPN to connect.
A VPN is a virtual private network; one that lets you communicate privately over an unencrypted and unsecured network. Your data is encrypted with a VPN. Don’t work on anything that contains sensitive information while on public wifi; editing some photos is fine, but dealing with banking information is not.
For the same reason, do not use public computers. You have no way of knowing what malware is on the computer, if anything has been installed by other users looking to steal someone’s information, or if any security measures are in place.
2. Use a screen filter when working in public
A privacy filter can be attached to your screen so that people sitting next to you can’t take a peek at your work. They make the screen only visible from a straight on viewing angle, meaning no one but you can see what information is on your screen.
3. Do frequent data backups on the cloud
Using the cloud is a secure way to back up your data. This ensures that you won’t lose any of your important or sensitive information and can easily restore your data if needed. The cloud is also much more difficult for cyber attackers to get into. If you are really worried, you can find a paid service that will encrypt your files before you back them up to the cloud.
4. Install a device tracker software to your devices
Installing device tracker software to your devices gives you a way to track them if they are ever stolen. A good one to use is Prey, which can be installed on phones, laptops, and tablets. In the event of loss or theft, it can be set to Missing status and will allow you to track the device. It can be remotely locked and wiped, or set off an alarm so you can locate it. Evidence reports can generate information on nearby wifi and even take photos.
5. Set up passwords to access all of your devices, use multi-factor authentication and a password manager
Set up secure passwords on all of your devices. Use multi-factor authentication whenever you can, and use a unique password on your most important accounts, such as your email and your bank. When choosing a password, use a phrase with multiple words, and try to mix upper and lower case letters with numbers and punctuations. 123456 is not a safe choice.
To manage all of your passwords, use a password manager such as 1Password or LastPass. These apps require a password to get in. From there, you can easily store your log in information and generate secure and unique passwords for every site without worrying about forgetting what they are. Using these apps to generate your passwords keeps you from choosing the same obvious ones all the time.
6. Use an anti-virus software to protect your devices against virus, malware, spyware, adware
Choose an anti-virus software from a trusted source. A good anti-virus program can keep you safe from ransomware, keyloggers, adware, browser hijackers, rootkits, worms, malicious browser helper objects, backdoors, trojan horses, dialers, spyware, fraudtools, malicious LSPs, infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, among many others threats.
Always keep your anti-virus software updated and patched so you have the most up-to-date protection. If possible, choose one that is part of a bundle that contains other security measures such as a firewall or network monitor software.
7. Use a firewall and network monitor software
While an antivirus will protect you from incoming files, a firewall and network monitor software can keep you safe from files already on your computer. These programs typically run on their own once installed, so you don’t have to think about it. If an attack does manage to bypass the security that is set by default in the network where you are connected, your own firewall acts as a second level of defense.
Your network monitor software will monitor outgoing and incoming network traffic and notify you if any of your personal data is possibly leaving your computer. If you suddenly have a large number of connections open from a strange location, it’s likely due to an attack. Many security vendors offer a package with firewall, network monitor software, and antivirus software, which will all work well together and won’t try to block each other.
It’s about keeping secure to work effectively on the go!
Taking extra precautions for secure remote work may seem unnecessary or inconvenient at first, but it will keep your data safe from cyber attacks. Using a password generator, connecting to the internet via VPN, and regularly backing your data up to the cloud will soon become part of your routine of working securely as a digital nomad on the go or a remote based professional.
Installing antivirus, firewall, and network monitor software, a device tracker, and a privacy screen are investments in your cyber security that you only need to spend time on once, and they’ll keep you safe as long as you use them. Prepare for cyber attacks before you are the victim of one by having these safety measures in place as soon as possible. They might be keeping you safe without you even realizing your safety measures prevented a cyber attack.