Security Best Practices As You Work From Home

Security Best Practices for Work From Home

The COVID pandemic has been a wake-up call to many people that are working from home for the first time. This means that it’s more important than ever for you to stay vigilant about your online security as you access corporate data from home or rely on new apps and processes that you’re not familiar with.

With the need for additional online security for at-home workers, we’ve put together a guide for you. Here are a few tips to help you work from home safely.

Consider Security Software

There are various types of security software that you can use to help protect your systems, data, and privacy. 

Two popular options include anti-virus programs which will scan your system for viruses or malware. Also, firewall applications that monitor the traffic between your computer and other devices on the internet.

Many security software applications also offer features to protect your privacy, such as the ability to delete your browsing history and cookies or to encrypt your files so that they cannot be read by others. 

It is important to keep in mind that no security software can provide 100% protection, but using a combination of different types of software can help reduce the risk of a security incident.

Utilize the Tech Toolbox of Your Company

If you’re working from home, one of the first things you should do is familiarize yourself with the resources provided by your company, whether that’s remote working software, security apps, hardware, etc. Each company has its own set of tools and it’s important to be aware of what they are to be productive while working remotely.

Also, be sure to check with your IT department about any specific security measures that need to be taken when working remotely. It’s important to follow your company’s procedures because the effectiveness of the security measures put in place will depend on the security procedures being followed.

Maintain Contact with Your Employer

Even if you are working from home, it is important to maintain contact with your employer. This can help ensure that you’re meeting all your deadlines and staying on top of any changes or updates, particularly changes in work from home policy or security policies. As more people work from home security measures will likely continue to evolve.

By communicating effectively, both you and your employer can avoid any potential issues.

Improve Your Home Security

In addition to your online securing, it’s important to have physical security at home. There are many easy ways to do this such as making sure your windows and doors lock properly, installing a home alarm system, and even security cameras to keep you safe.

Ensure Zoom Meetings are Safe

Zoom meetings are a great way to stay connected with coworkers and clients. But it’s important to make sure they are safe. Don’t share Zoom meeting info or account credentials with anyone outside of your company, unless they are specifically required to be in the meeting. Zoom frequently updates their software, so make sure that you’re always up-to-date for maximum security.

Always Update Your Software

One of the most important things you can do to protect your security when working from home is to make sure all your software is up-to-date. This includes everything from your operating system to your web browser and even your office applications. By keeping your software current, you’re closing any potential security loopholes that could be exploited by hackers.

Consider Using a VPN if Necessary

If you work from home, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself and your data safe. One way to do this is by using a virtual private network (VPN). Many companies will require you to use a corporate VPN to be able to connect to the company network or data, but some will not. In that case, using a personal VPN might be a great option for enhancing your security.

A VPN creates an encrypted connection between your device and the internet, making it harder for someone else to spy on your traffic or steal your information.

Beware of Phishing Emails from Scammers

Phishing emails are where scammers pretend to be someone you trust to get confidential information. Emails can appear to come from your bank, credit card company, or other service providers, even family and friends – but they don’t. Therefore, you need to beware of such emails and not click on any links or open any attachments that you don’t recognize.

Avoid Using Public WIFI

If you decide to get out of your home office and work from somewhere like a coffee shop, be sure to avoid public WIFI networks. Public WIFI networks are not secure and give hackers an open invitation into your computer, smartphone, or mobile device. 

This can expose important data like bank account numbers, credit card details, and login credentials for work-related websites such as email and online banking. If you have to use a public WIFI, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to create a secure connection between your device and the internet. 

Conclusion

These tips are a great start to making your work from home experience a lot more secure. What other tips do you have? Leave them in the comments below!

Using Ghost Path with Tunnelblick

Video tutorial for configuring Tunnelblick

Tunnelblick is a popular free OpenVPN client for Mac. It’s been around a long time, is still being updated, and is a breeze to use. This post has a video tutorial that walks you through the process of setting up Tunnelblick so that you can quickly and easily access Ghost Path’s VPN servers.

How to install and configure Tunnelblick to work with Ghost Path servers

Here’s the full list of Ghost Path VPN servers. You can click the OpenVPN link for any of those servers to download a pre-config’d OpenVPN file to easily import into Tunnelblick.

Using Ghost Path with Viscosity

Video tutorial for configuring Viscosity

Viscosity is one of the absolute best VPN clients for Mac (and Windows). It’s very popular and I use it personally for a variety of reasons. I’ve put together a handy guide to help you get started with Viscosity.

Viscosity is not free, but it does come with a 30-day trial and then it’s just $14 for a license. Well worth it imo.

How to install and configure Viscosity to work with Ghost Path servers

Here’s the full list of Ghost Path VPN servers. You can click the Viscosity link for any of those servers to download a pre-config’d Viscosity file.

Spike in VPN Interest Due to Coronavirus

VPN interest worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in countless changes and adaptations around the globe, one of which is a greatly increased interest in VPN’s. We’ve seen an influx of traffic, mostly from consumers who appear to be completely new to VPN’s.

I’ve been using Google Trends to track the spike in interest and see what interesting tidbits can be learned.

Worldwide Interest is Up

Global VPN Interest
Global VPN Interest as of April 14, 2020

Live Data from Google Trends

March 17, 2020. It looks like global interest is up about 11% over the last week or so. I would expect this to continue increasing over the next 2-3 weeks as the virus continues to spread to new countries/regions.

April 14, 2020. VPN interest peaked at ~60% higher than usual the week of March 15-21. It’s declined since then but is still up more about 25% above pre-COVID levels.

VPN Interest In Italy Skyrocketed in Mid-March

Google Trends for VPN Interest in Italy
VPN Interest in Italy as of April 14, 2020

Live Data From Google Trends

March 17, 2020. This makes sense, because Italy was one of the first countries to be locked down. More users working from, watching media from home, etc. It will be interesting to see what new level the VPN interest holds at after this initial spike.

April 14, 2020. VPN interest in Italy has remained far above where it was pre-COVID. As of now Italy is still in lockdown-mode.

VPN Interest in US Doubled Before Declining

Google Trends for VPN in the US
VPN interest trends in the US as of April 14, 2020

Live Data From Google Trends

March 17, 2020. Again, this follow closely with the global spread of COVID-19. The US is behind Italy at the moment, so it follows that VPN interest is moving along the same path. If the US is truly following the same pattern, I would expect to see an even larger increase in interest over the next 1-2 weeks.

April 14, 2020. US interest peaked during the week of March 15-21, doubling previous interest. As Americans settled into shelter-in-place orders and schools and businesses closed, VPN interest peaked and then started declining. Interest is still significantly higher than before COVID-19.

Why the Increased Interest in VPN?

What can we learn from this spike in interest? Here are a few of my hypotheses.

Increase in corporate VPN interest due to working from home

Many people working from home, particularly for larger companies, are asked to utilize the company’s VPN to connect to the corporate network. Google Trends bears out this relationship very well, as you can see the clear connection between the increase in VPN interest and work from home interest over the last 2 months.

"Work From Home" Interest vs "VPN" Interest from Google Trends
“Work From Home” Interest vs “VPN” Interest from Google Trends as of April 14, 2020

People stuck at home are watching more online entertainment

Consumer VPN is synonymous with online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. because of the issue of geolocation. The data in Google Trends tends to back up this assumption to some degree. It’s hard to directly compare “VPN” to “Netflix” because of the vast difference in popularity, but if you focus on increases over the last couple of months in the chart below it’s hard to argue that they don’t correlate very well.

"VPN" interest vs "Netflix" interest on Google Trends
“VPN” interest vs “Netflix” interest on Google Trends as of April 14, 2020

More to Come

We’ll continue to update this post as more information becomes available.

Now Accepting Paypal Payments

We’re excited to announce that we are now accepting Paypal payments for our VPN service. Paypal is a simple, safe & secure way to pay.

Pay for VPN with Paypal

Payments Accepted

Ghost Path accepts the following methods of payment now:

  • Credit Cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover)
  • Paypal
  • Bitcoin
  • Cash or Money Order

How to Pay With Paypal

If you are new to Ghost Path then simply visit our pricing page to choose your VPN plan. When you click the Buy Now button you will see the option to pay with Paypal.

We don’t have a way for current customers to migrated payments from credit cards or Bitcoin to Paypal. We’re working on that for a future release. If you need to do this immediately then just email us and we’ll take care of it.

More Payment Options in the Future

We’re committed to making Ghost Path as accessible as possible, and that means accepting as many types of payments as possible. We’re working to bring more payment options online in the near future. If you have any suggestions then feel free to contact us.

The Risks of Online Gaming & How to Stay Safe

Whether you’re an all-out “gamer” or simply enjoy a few hands of online poker every now and then, all that online gaming fun comes with its own set of risks.

WThe risks of online gaminghen we turn to the internet for gaming entertainment often the last think we think about (or want to think about) is the fact that we’re opening ourselves up to potentially be the victim of scams, identity theft or viruses.

If you spend any time gaming, then take a few minutes to read through the risks below and how to avoid them!

The Risks…

  • Large, online gaming communities may feel “friendly” but the truth is, you’re surrounded by strangers, which means you could unthinkingly share too much personal info like your full name, email address, age or even online passwords.
  • When you download “cheats” you could actually be downloading corrupt software that contains viruses.
  • Illegally downloading games could lead to severe penalties or even prosecution.
  • Getting rid of old game consoles, computers, mobile devices, etc. that still contain your personal info can put you at risk of identity theft.

Ok, now that you recognize some of the risks of online gaming, let’s go over how to protect yourself so you can keep on gaming without the worry.

How to Stay Safe…

  • Make sure you have updated antivirus software.
  • Only play authorized, legitimate versions of games that you have obtained/purchased legally and from the proper sources.
  • Choose a secure username that does not reveal personal info.
  • Create strong and long passwords.
  • Never share personal info with other players.
  • Keep your game software up-to-date.
  • Delete all personal info before disposing of or selling unwanted gaming devices.
  • Establish rules and guidelines for your children when they’re playing online (and model good behavior)!

To protect yourself even further, consider setting up a VPN so that you can mask your location and identity and never worry about online gaming hazards again! For more information about getting a Virtual Private Network, click HERE.

 

Risks & safety measures inspired by this post on GetSafeOnline.org.

10 People Who Need a VPN [infographic]

Do you need a VPN?

We’ll get to the answer to that question in a minute, but first, let’s back it up.

Do you know what a VPN is?

VPN is a Virtual Private Network. And, it’s an effective, safe and easy way to add security and privacy to both public and private networks. Basically, it enables you to freely use and browse the Internet without the fear of putting yourself at risk of cybercrimes, hackers, or geographic restrictions.

As you can imagine, having a VPN can be really beneficial, but there are specific groups of people who really can benefit from having a VPN.

If you’re wondering if you are a one of them, check out the infographic below to find out!


Click HERE to view infographic in a new page.

 

For even more info about how a VPN can benefit you, visit GhostPath.com.

What The Big Dogs Are NOT Telling You About The Security Of Your Mobile Device

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 10.57.29 AMEver feel like you’re not getting the whole story?

Well, we’ve done some digging and it turns out that there’s quite a lot that the big dogs (namely Google and Apple) are NOT telling you about the security of your mobile device.

According to a recent Unisys study on workplace mobile habits, it was found that many business users access important corporate data using non-secure methods, like public WiFi. Plus, an increasing number of employees are accessing their workplace’s business applications on their personal devices, putting both themselves, sensitive data and their company at risk.

And worse, most people don’t give a second thought to the security of their devices before logging on at a WiFi hotspot or checking their email using mobile data.

Here are some enlightening facts about our mobile device habits & security:

  • By 2020 there will be 50 billion (yes, with a b) internet-connected devices
  • 51% of organizations have experience data loss in the last year from non-secure device usage
  • 32% of Americans say they prefer to use simple passwords; a practice that puts you & your data at risk
  • In a recent media company security breach, it was uncovered that 3,000 users had the password “123456” and 2,000 users used “password” as their password

In order to better protect yourself, your data & your mobile device, get a VPN (virtual private network), which will encrypt your data and protect your privacy no matter what device you use to connect to the Internet.

 

This post was inspired by this infographic.

3 Myths & Truths About Your Child’s Safety Online

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.26.27 AMThere’s a lot of talk these days about the many risks of children being online.

We hear news story after news story about cyberbullying, online child predators, and others with malicious intent lurking around every corner. Sure, there are risks, and practicing safe online usage is essential, but most of the time the benefits of the Internet far outweigh the potential hazards.

In today’s post, we’re debunking some common myths about your child’s safety online, and we’ll fill you in on the real truths of each situation.

MYTH #1: Social media transforms kids into bullies.

TRUTH: Social media is just another outlet for bullying — it doesn’t turn kids into bullies. Most kids who engage in online bullying are also often bullies at school and usually have another reason for acting out, like family issues, school problems, etc. The most productive thing to do is for parents and teachers to educate themselves about the warning signs of bullying so that they can step-in before the behavior goes too far.

MYTH #2: Never post photos of your children on social media — it’s too dangerous!

TRUTH: By using the appropriate privacy settings, you can post pictures AND keep your children safe. To ensure that your kids remain safe & protected, (1) use privacy settings that limit your posts’ reach to only family and trusted friends, (2) limit your audience by using photo-share sites that require a login to see pictures, like Flickr, and (3) don’t tag or identify your children in the photos.

MYTH #3: Strict parental control setting are the best way to protect your children online.

TRUTH: Using just one measure for online security gives you a false sense of safety. Parental controls are just one piece of the puzzle, you also need to openly discuss online safety precautions with your children, share the risks of being online, establish agreed-upon rules, and encourage your children to be both responsible and respectful when online.

To further protect your children from online risks, consider setting up a VPN to ensure privacy, security & safety while online. For more information, click HERE.

 

This post was inspired by this article.