When you start a new job, there’s a lot to learn. You’re meeting new people and adapting to a whole new workplace culture. You’re probably training on new computer software and trying to quickly learn your duties and responsibilities. You want to prove your value to your new employer and make sure your position is secure. One important way to do so is by safeguarding their computer systems and data. Follow these rules to protect yourself and your employer from cyber-attacks.
Be Careful With Email
A large number of attacks businesses and individuals face come through email. Cyber-attackers are devious, savvy and high-tech. They want to trick you into releasing malware into your employer’s system, and they’re good at it.
- Never click on links in emails – Whether the email comes from your bank, your utility company or the software service you use every day, go directly to their website and log in from there. If it’s really a notification from them, it will be on their website.
- Don’t open attachments – Retailers and software companies don’t send information that way without first letting you know it’s coming. Even if it comes from your mother, if it looks suspicious, don’t open it.
- Guard personal information – social engineering is a process attackers use to trick you into trusting them and providing passwords or other trusted information.
Other Practical Tips
Email is the main way employees let cyber attackers in, but there are other ways you could compromise online security. When you’re new, you may have separate login/password combinations for several programs. Don’t write them on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor. Create a Google doc that contains them or store them on your password protected phone.
If you’re setting your own login information, don’t use common words or phrases. Your co-workers know your birthday, your anniversary and your pet’s name. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Make at least one of the letters a capital.
Watch website URLs when you visit. The URL is what you type in the web browser. Cyber criminals sometimes use a variation that is very close to the real thing. You may not notice if you’re clicking on www.bankofamrica.com because it’s so similar to the real thing.
Keep from compromising your employer’s security when you take devices home. Password protect your laptop or other mobile device so even if it’s lost or stolen, the data stays safe. If something happens, tell your employer immediately. It’s better to alert them of a potential security risk than to allow data to fall into the wrong hands.
Regularly Update Security Features
It’s annoying when that message pops up that says your anti-virus or software needs an update, but get in the habit of doing it right away. Developers continually create security patches for software as attackers find new vulnerabilities to exploit.
Anti-virus software protects your computer by detecting and removing viruses before they can cause damage. If you don’t update, it’s like not getting a flu shot every year. You may have been protected last year, but this year there’s a new strain.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team provides ongoing updates about online security issues as they develop. See a list of security vulnerabilities by week on their site to stay in the loop.
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*Missy Ticer is a blogger and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.