Wanting to keep your data private and safe is more crucial in this age of modern technology than ever before. As the majority of the world’s population is rapidly shifting online from remote work to e-commerce and into social media, a lot of individuals are becoming more vulnerable to cyberattacks because the cybercriminal community has also increased. 

Remote work, freelance work, flexible working and working from home have all become a common practice during this pandemic and all look like they are here to stay. This new normal way of earning our income is gaining popularity, either by choice or by forced circumstances. When working in the office we are protected by firewalls, business level security and data protection policies, however, according to a study by OpenVPN it reports that around 90% of remote workers are not secured. 

Cybersecurity for remote workers is a priority issue since freelancers use the internet for the majority of transactions, communications and work. Three common practices that make it easier for cyber criminals to target their next victim are [1] accessing sensitive information through unsafe WiFi networks, [2] using personal devices for work, and [3] publicising personal details on social media. 

What could you do to prevent it from happening? 

As freelancers, you are the IT department of your own company.  Many businesses that rely on technology have their own IT department to filter threats, build protections and monitor connections, without that support you are responsible for your own protection and the protection of your client’s data against cyberattack.

  1. BE SKEPTICAL ABOUT  EVERYTHING – being skeptical is different from being judgmental. Cyberattacks often come in forms of deceptions to lure you. Being skeptical about opening emails and accepting social media requests will help you protect your data.
  1. SET UP A SECURE CONNECTION – the ability to work anywhere is one of the advantages of being a freelancer and this comes with a serious responsibility. Not every network is secure and unsecure networks are the hotspots for cybercriminals. To help you, routing a VPN to your network is important to secure your data. 
  1. USE STRONG PASSWORDS – use letters in different cases, add numbers and characters to your passwords and make sure it is not in any way related to your basic information. Don’t be one of those people who use weak passwords! Strong passwords are hard to crack but of course make sure you create a memorable one.

As a freelancer, you may assume that your minor business activities are free from danger but this is a misconception! In fact, 43% of all cyberattacks target small operations. Individuals working on a freelance basis are at huge risk too and there are limited solutions to stop these criminals from targeting freelancers and small businesses. But for now, what you can do is prevent yourself from being their next victim by being aware, follow the steps above and educating yourself on the risks involved. 

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