As a freelancer, you are more vulnerable to cybercrime than most people. You use the internet on your computer or laptop for work and leisure purposes. This means, that if malware is downloaded onto your system, it could cause untold damage to all of your files and documents. This blog post will provide some tips for staying safe online as a freelancer.
What is cyber security?
The term ‘cyber security’ is used to refer to the safety of online information and data.
How does cybercrime happen?
There are different forms of cybercrime, but they can be divided into two main categories: attacks on digital data (hacking) or interference with computer systems via software downloads (malware). It’s important to be aware that cyber crimes can take place in all forms of online activity.
How do hackers access my account?
Hackers may get into your accounts by guessing the password, using malware to steal it, or through social engineering (when people are tricked into giving up their passwords). When you create an online account, make sure you use a strong password that is a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols. Also, consider using two-factor authentication to give your account added security.
What can hackers access?
Hackers can view all private data on your computer or laptop, delete files from it and even use it as part of a botnet (a network of computers used by hackers to do their bidding).
How can I protect my computer?
The best way you can protect your devices is by running an anti-virus program, keeping it updated, and making sure that any software downloads are legitimate. This includes installing updates for the operating system on your laptop or PC too. It’s also recommended that you create backups of your files on external hard drives so that you have a copy of everything should the worst happen.
What are some other personal cyber security tips?
Here’s a list of things to do and not to do:
1) Do use antivirus software.
Having an updated antivirus software will help protect your computer against viruses, malware, and other forms of cybercrime.
Do not use free antivirus software.
Free anti-virus programs are just as good at finding threats to your system but they could also give hackers access to it because there is no guarantee that the program will be kept up-to-date or secure in the future.
2) Back up your files regularly
It’s advisable to create backups of all work and personal documents on an external hard drive or another storage device. This way, you’ll have a copy in case something happens to the original. This is especially important if you are taking your laptop out with you when working. Don’t leave it unattended.
3) Don’t leave your laptop unattended.
If you are popping out of the office for a few minutes, make sure you don’t leave your laptop or tablet on the table in front of you. This is because hackers could access it while you’re away and install malware onto it without being detected.
4) Use two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication will give you an added layer of security for your online accounts. This is where a password on its own won’t do – hackers need to know the account name and password as well as another piece of information, like a code that’s sent through text message or generated by an app.
5) Don’t download files from unknown sources.
If you’re not 100% sure that the file is safe, don’t download it onto your device as this could potentially install malware on it without you knowing about it. Be careful when downloading files from PPT sharing sites too. There might be hidden malware in these types of downloads too.
6) Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a VPN.
Using public Wi-Fi without a virtual private network (VPN) is risky because hackers can use it to access your data and potentially steal personal information, such as passwords or credit card details. Always connect using a secure internet connection when you’re out of the office if possible.
If a friend sends you a link on Facebook or Twitter, make sure it’s the real deal and not a fake account set up by hackers to try and get your personal information. There have been cases of phishing scams where links are sent through social media networks that look like they’re genuine but direct you to fake websites that look like the real thing.
8) Don’t open suspicious emails or attachments
Don’t click on suspicious links or messages in emails from people you don’t know.
Even if it looks like an email is sent by someone trustworthy, such as your bank, never open its attachments or click through any of the links within it. This could lead you straight to a malicious website.
9) Keep your operating system updated.
Keeping your operating system up-to-date will help protect you against viruses and other threats.
Don’t use the default passwords that came with your devices either as this can make them vulnerable to hacking. If you’re not sure how to update it, go online for more information or speak to someone who knows about technology.
10) Learn about phishing scams
Knowing phishing scams is important because this is the most common way that people get their personal information hacked.
11) Don’t give out your password to anyone.
Avoid giving out your personal information online. If you’re not sure how to create a secure e-mail account, use Gmail (or another reputable service) and make your password difficult for anyone to guess. Also, be careful about what sites you visit when using public Wi-Fi or other unsecured networks; don’t log into any accounts that might contain sensitive information.
Be aware of your surroundings
As an off-site worker, you also need to consider your physical safety when working at home or in the office of a client without supervision. Make sure that all computers are password protected and never leave any devices unattended with unlocked screens/keyboards. Be aware of who has access to your location and your work while at home or in the office of a client.
The best way to protect yourself online is to prevent others from getting access, by making sure that all devices are password protected and you always keep them with you. Be aware of who has access to your location and what information they can see on their end when working remotely (if possible).
As you can see, there are lots of things that freelancers can do to stay cyber safe online. Follow the above advice and you should never have any problems with hackers or malware getting into your accounts. Remember: it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to staying secure online.