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Flexible working during Euro 2016: 10 ways to stay secure this summer

Today is the day football fans throughout Europe have been waiting for: Euro 2016 kicks off in France this evening with England obviously poised to bring home the trophy (yeah right).

The start of the tournament is likely to result in an increase in flexible and remote working for UK businesses, as well as more mobile devices being used to connect to potentially insecure Wi-Fi networks in crowded areas.

This combination of factors will leave employees more vulnerable to cyber threats than usual, meaning business data could be left open to hackers.

To help minimise this risk, Kaspersky Lab has drawn up an essential guide of 10 things remote-working fans can learn from the players on the pitch:

1. Take responsibility for your own performance

A recent Kaspersky Lab study (opens in new tab) into ransomware found that less than four per cent of adults in the US would mind if work documents on their device were lost through cybercrime, while 77 per cent would panic if they lost financial info. Indifference doesn’t lead to secure behaviour. If you are planning to work on the move, you need to feel responsible for the safety of the business information you handle.

2. Everyone is watching you

Logging into a device where anyone can look over your shoulder and make a note of your password or the work you’re doing – so-called ‘visual hacking’ -- makes it easy for others to break into your device or steal information. Keep your data to yourself.

3. Keep your eye on the ball

Phishing and ransomware emails now look increasingly convincing and can even appear to come from a colleague. If the message is unexpected, contact the sender directly, and never click on an attachment or a link in an email from someone you don’t know.

4. Don’t reveal your game plan

Don’t transmit anything unless you know it’s encrypted. With WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage service now encrypting communications end-to-end as standard, email is rapidly becoming the most vulnerable form of business communications. Use the most secure channel you have access to.

5. Beware Man-in-the-Middle attacks

Using a free, public Wi-Fi network to stay in touch with work is extremely high-risk. An attacker can easily insert themselves into the network and spy on or intercept all of your communications. They can do the same between an email and your business server. End-to-end encryption prevents this – so if you don’t have it, don’t email until you’re somewhere secure or, alternatively, use a VPN (virtual private network).

6. Prepare for the worst

Employers unprepared for the sudden increase in remote working may not have the most appropriate security installed on work devices, let alone employees’ personal devices. If it’s too late to get this installed,then at the very least don’t leave home without the most up-to-date version of device software installed. And remember that mobile devices are not immune to cyber-attacks.

7. The referee can make mistakes

Websites, network service providers, operating systems etc., do their best to provide protection or alerts: such as the new malware and phishing website warnings introduced by Bing (opens in new tab). However, the baddies are increasingly cunning and if there’s a point of weakness, they’ll find it. Confine your remote work to things that are not business critical or sensitive.

8. But don’t blame the referee for all mistakes

Sometimes things go wrong; devices get broken, lost or stolen, or affected by malware or ransomware. The best thing to do is to come clean and let your IT department know immediately so they can take appropriate steps, such as blocking the handset, remote-wiping the device or isolating the malware before the infection takes hold.

9. Don’t make victory easy for the other side

Cybercriminals generally prefer the path of least resistance. Solid security, security updates, a hard-to-crack password, the use of the latest software, a business VPN and encrypted communications all make it harder for an outsider to gain access to your device and business information.

10. But don’t expect to win without trying

Kaspersky Lab has found that only around half (opens in new tab) (53 per cent) of consumers make use of the security features that come with their device. To stay ahead of the hackers, you need to get to grips with these security essentials. It’s about focus and commitment, supported by the right equipment. Just like football.

Image credit: Shutterstock/wk1003mike

Sam is Head of Content at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and has more than six years' experience as a reporter and content writer, having held the positions of Production Editor, Staff Writer, and Senior Business Writer at ITProPortal.