Like many others around the world, we’ve been working from home for eight months or more due to the pandemic and it doesn’t look like that will end soon. Most Americans working from home have created office spaces that provide the tools and tech they need, but without the professional IT staff on call they are used to.
Since it looks like working from home will continue for quite some time, learning how to become your own tech support will go a long way toward keeping your stress level down and your productivity up. With that in mind, here are a few tips from IT pros and experienced WFH professionals that all remote workers should know.
#1: WiFi is really, really important
If you’re working online every day, you must have internet service you can rely on. There’s nothing more frustrating, or anti-productive, as the inability to connect and communicate with your coworkers, colleagues or clients. Secure and stable access to the internet is essential for most all businesses to keep running. Here are a few tips for making sure your internet is up to speed:
Kristy CooperTechnology tips for working from home long-term
Many people love to share highlights of their lives through social media, including daily routine updates such as running or hiking, sending kids off to school each day, or laptop working sessions at a favorite coffee shop. Experts say, however, that posting information like this often including hidden information like detailed locations and timelines, opening the door to criminals who can use that information for everything from stalking to robbery to worse.
Kristy CooperWhat NOT to post on social media to protect your security
We shared the news recently how the FBI is warning California to be on the watch for COVID-19 related scams, but it’s not just our state that needs to be on guard – it’s the whole world. Hackers, doing what they do, are taking advantage of the chaos and confusion the pandemic has created and are working overtime putting COVID-related scams to work. While everyone can be a target, unfortunately some that are being targeted more than others are among those on the front line, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, police and other first responders.
Google warned recently that it has been identifying more than 240 million Covid-related spam messages per day, and that the previous week it had detected 18 million phishing and malware emails related to the pandemic each day. Overall, Gmail blocks more than 100 million phishing emails daily.
Kristy CooperHow hackers are taking advantage of the COVID crisis
According to the FBI, the coronavirus isn’t the only danger people need to be watching out for these days as cybercriminals are focusing their attacks on the top 3 states with highest infection rates – California, New York and Washington.
In recent statements online, both the FBI Director and the US Attorney have warned Americans to be on their guard for a significant spike in coronavirus scams. In particular, they warn that cyber-attacks are most likely to target people working from home. The lack of sophisticated IT support and protection that people took for granted in the office leaves employees working from home open to attack and unprepared for what to watch for and what to do if they suspect something might be wrong.
Kristy CooperFBI warns that CA among top 3 states targeted by COVID-19 scammers
If you’re a serious social media user, you’ve probably got some basic safety protocols already in place. But we feel that you can never be too safe, so for all you savvy social users we’ve rounded up some advanced tactics to guard your safety both online and off.
Tip #1: The right mindset
Understanding that what goes online stays online – practically forever – is something that social media users of every age should know. When sharing information online it is important for people to realize the permanence of what they post, share or even download. Once information goes on the Internet through social networking it is difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Even for platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram stories that “disappear” within 24 hours, the information may be captured via screen shot and shared anywhere, anytime. Depending on what was originally submitted, those deleted posts can prove detrimental for future job prospects, relationships, and even leave a person vulnerable to crimes.
From cyberbullying to cybercrime, the annual Safer Internet Day event is proclaimed to raise awareness of emerging online issues and promote safer internet experiences. If you leave your smart phone unlocked or use passwords like “abc123” you might start thinking differently after seeing these statistics. According to data gathered from top tech organizations, 2019 was a big year for cybercrime with 2020 projected to just keep getting worse.
One cyber-attack happens in every 39 seconds
Hackers stole credit card or financial information from 23% of US people
The US lost between $57 billion and $109 billion due to cybercrime
Phishing caused a loss of $1.48 billion
Email and phone are the most common access for hackers
20% of teenagers received an unwanted sexual solicitation when they use the internet
At least 500,000 predators are active online every day, estimated by FBI
Scary? You bet. Education and awareness are two of the easiest and most powerful tools that we all have, as long as we use them. To help you protect your home, business and family from cybercrime, we’ve rounded up the best of our resources here – for home, for business and even for the holidays.
Kristy CooperSafer Internet Day tips for online safety
You may be on the lookout for phishing and other illegal scams in your inbox, but email isn’t the only place that targets people these days. Social media, a place where many people spend a lot of time, can also pose dangers to users who aren’t on their guard. These tips for social media safety will explain what you need to watch out for – and how to manage it.
TIP #1: Don’t overshare
Sharing thoughts, activities and slices of life are great. But sharing too much information can threaten your personal safety. When it comes to social media safety, avoid posting the following things:
Most of us have wondered, at one time or another, if smartphone tracking is being done to us. Truth is… it probably is!
The New York Times released an interesting, in-depth investigation about who is tracked in the United States via personal smartphones and how much of that information is out there for public use. The answer? Everyone is tracked, no matter where they are. And all of that information is available to pretty much anyone who knows how to access it.
This all started when an anonymous source gave the Times a massive file showing location tracking data for more then 12 million phones from around the country that accurately showed where, when and for how long individuals visited places ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
From the Times report:
“In the cities that the data file covers, it tracks people from nearly every neighborhood and block, whether they live in mobile homes in Alexandria, Va., or luxury towers in Manhattan. One search turned up more than a dozen people visiting the Playboy Mansion, some overnight. Without much effort we spotted visitors to the estates of Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, connecting the devices’ owners to the residences indefinitely.”
Looking for more ways to keep your browsing information private? Understanding how DNS (Domain Name Service) requests work, and how they expose the minutia of your internet activity, is a good place to start. Every time you visit a new website, your computer submits a request to the DNS servers system so it can translate the domain name to an IP address.
Let’s put it this way – DNS server information is like a detailed phone record showing all of your Internet use. And because DNS servers are what connect you to your internet service provider (ISP), this means that they can see what websites you are visiting, as well as when and how often you visit them.
Kristy CooperHow Encrypted DNS Servers Can Support Internet Browsing Privacy
If you think you’ve got some time before the holidays are officially here, you’d be wrong. Black Friday deals are already in our Inboxes – and it’s not even Black Friday yet! Costco has had Christmas merchandise out since September. And Amazon Prime packages are piling up on porches as parents get a head start on holiday shopping. Along with the fun and good cheer of the season, however, comes a darker side with hackers, phishers, porch pirates and other not-so-jolly characters working hard to take advantage of distracted shoppers and deal-seekers.
To keep your season merry and bright, we’ve rounded up a few tips for using the internet to protect your finances, purchases, home, and even your happiness.
Kristy CooperHow the internet can protect your finances and home for the holidays
We believe that everyone deserves fast, reliable internet service no matter where they live or work. Softcom brings the experience, infrastructure, and technology to stand behind our vision. And we’re laser-focused on giving our customers the fast connections, exceptional customer service, and simple, affordable pricing they deserve.