Freelancing is a popular career choice for many, and for all the right reasons. It allows you to work remotely whenever and wherever you want, be more independent, and take on projects that you find rewarding. You are your own boss. However, as liberating as freelancing or working on your own may sound, freelancing also comes with several security risks.
The number of cybersecurity attacks has significantly increased during the pandemic because of the transition to remote work. Hackers are getting smarter by the day and target freelancers and small companies because they lack the resources to secure their systems and equipment. Employees receive laptops equipped with anti-virus programs from the company, while freelancers have to stay up to date with the latest cybersecurity technology to protect themselves from attacks. And one out of five freelancers falls victim to cyber-attacks, putting their personal and client data at risk.
If you are a freelancer, you should take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming one of the victims. Here are 9 tips you can practice to reduce the risk of cybersecurity.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Freelancers can work from anywhere anytime they like. You will find many freelancers in public spaces like cafes, restaurants, and libraries working on an important project or deadline. Using public Wi-Fi puts you directly on the hit list of cybercriminals and is one of the biggest reasons behind the increase in cyberattacks. Avoid connecting to the public network as it becomes super easy for cybercriminals to track your device and location.
If you have no option but to connect to a public network to use the internet, then use a VPN to remain untraceable.
Beware of Scam Emails and Calls
Being a freelancer, your job description also includes preventing scam emails and calls every other day. You are always communicating with different people which puts you at risk of getting scammed easily. You will receive unnecessary calls and emails every other day, which is why you need to install call-blocking software or app to block unnecessary callers. Such apps are designed to identify spam numbers. So, if the app detects spam, the app blocks the caller automatically.
Scam emails have random files and documents that include viruses that can infect your system if downloaded. This also enables them to fetch all your data easily. Never open emails from untrusted sources and always avoid opening links or downloading files from scam emails.
Only Accept Secure Payment Gateways
When you are doing business with different people every day, you are subject to different conditions and demands. This is why you must define your preferred method of payment before you accept the task or project. Most freelancers are comfortable with using PayPal for transactions. It’s important to pick a secure and reputable payment service to prevent security risks.
Use Residential Proxy
To do business safely with different people online, freelancers can use a residential proxy to ensure they remain safe from cyberattacks. You can pick a specific city, country, or location, and browse the web as a real user from that virtual location. Doing so prevents cybercriminals from knowing your whereabouts as the proxy encrypts your IP address and helps maintain your privacy and security.
Set Strong and Unique Passwords
This is a generally important tip for every modern-day internet user. It’s important to employ strong and unique passwords for all your accounts. Create a mix of letters, numbers, symbols, and characters plus apply multi-factor authentication to log in.
Update Software Regularly
Most cyberattacks happen on systems that are not updated with the latest software. Carelessness can cost you your privacy and safety. Make sure you update your software regularly and are working on the updated version of the system. Keep an eye on any new updates and turn on auto-updates on your system to make things easier.
Back up your data regularly to prevent losing it due to technical accidents, accidental deletions, damage, or theft. Make sure your data is always available to you even if you lose it for some reason. Back up your data on the cloud plus an external server or drive.
Secure your Home Router
Working from home makes you an easy target for cybercriminals as your home network is not as secure as the one set up by organizations. Make it more secure by changing the default login username and password of the network. Change the network’s name or SSID and use WPA2 or WP3 encryption. Also, make sure you are signed up with a reliable internet service provider. Check out Spectrum deals to get your hands on a safe and secure internet plan.
Set Strong and Unique Passwords
Every freelancer should invest in reliable antivirus software to avoid triggering issues along the road. An antivirus program will make sure you are always protected 100% from malicious attacks, threats, and malware plus improve your computer’s performance as well.
To Wrap It Up
Cybersecurity is a huge concern for many, particularly those earning a living from the comfort of their own homes. Follow these 9 tips to reduce the risk of cybersecurity if you are a freelancer and be worry free!