Free advice for all you free agents

Dawn Leonetti 13 Jun 2018

As working on the go becomes more common, here are the main security issues to keep in mind.

Where and how we work is changing

Call it the natural evolution of business culture, a newly-realized measure of sensible economics, or the inevitable result of an internet-dependent society — whichever you choose, you’re right. It’s the way of the world that an increasing number of us perform the duties of our jobs in the comfort of coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, and airports. Public Wi-Fi speedily raced past “luxurious convenience” and into the territory of “daily necessity” for much of today’s workforce. As the trend blossoms further, cybersecurity becomes ever more important for everyone.

Intuit, in partnership with Emergent Research, just released the Intuit 2020 report, which looks at demographic, economic, social, and technological trends today and projects how they will shape the next decade. One such projection is that we will see “a reinvention of the workplace” thanks to cloud-based technology and the increasing trend of contingent work, where companies are using full-time employees less and contractors/freelancers more. “Today,” the report states, “roughly 25-30 percent of the U.S. workforce is contingent, and more than 80 percent of large corporations plan to substantially increase their use of a flexible workforce in coming years.”

Secure Wi-Fi networks required

These are all exciting changes, new dynamics that bring new opportunity, but let’s take a pledge here and now to be smart when using public Wi-Fi. It’s all-too-easy for cybercriminals to hack into a public Wi-Fi and spy on anyone who connects.

A troubling trend has emerged whereby cybercriminals put up decoy Wi-Fi networks at places where transient clientele will be logging on. If the network name looks legitimate, and you’re unfamiliar with the area, you may assume it’s the correct network and might log onto it. Once you do, the cybercriminals get a front row seat to all your web activity.

But you’re busy. You don’t necessarily have the time to properly vet the Wi-Fi network you’re about to join, especially when you’re bustling to log on and get to the day’s work. This is why you need — we all need — to have safety precautions already in place to warn you if a threat is lurking nearby. Protect yourself with these two essential tools for the remote worker.

Essential tool #1 — VPN

There are plenty of reasons to get a VPN, not least of all that it automatically encrypts your data so that even if you mistakenly did hop on a bad actor’s dummy network, your info is still protected. A VPN gives you a private connection to the internet, and works as your own defense-forward rental car on the cyber highway.

Essential tool #2 — Antivirus

This is key as well, as it alerts you if any sneaky predators or malware is threatening your system and shuts down malicious programs before they can do any damage. If you use as many public Wi-Fis as there are coffee shops in your town, then you want to have a measure of protection as you brave each new network.

If you are a free agent, using public Wi-Fi spaces throughout your work week, you are an early depiction of the future of the workforce. Congratulations on being brave enough and smart enough to be part of the vanguard. Now do yourself a big favor, and get yourself those essential tools so that you continue to be unstoppable.

You can try Avast SecureLine VPN for seven days at no cost, and enjoy the experience of being worry-free whenever you join a network.

Also, download Avast Free Antivirus today, and defend yourself with the largest cybersecurity network in the world.

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