Remote workers apparently have more to worry about than their in-office counterparts.
Indeed, according to a new international survey, 67% of these workers said they worry more about their online security and privacy their in-office counterparts (58%), even though there is nothing wrong that would trigger their concerns.
The survey was conducted by cybersecurity firm F-Secure and included 7,200 workers from around the world.
While worries about online security and privacy were prevalent among all survey respondents, remote workers reported elevated concerns about the following issues.
Internet Is More Dangerous
- 65% of those who work from home said the internet is becoming a more dangerous place, compared to 54% of other respondents.
- 63% of remote workers said concerns about data privacy have changed how they use the internet, compared to 48% of other respondents.
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- 71% of remote workers said they worry that new internet connected devices—such as wearables and connected home appliances—could lead to a violation of their privacy, compared to 64% of non-remote workers.
- 70% of remote workers felt increasingly uncomfortable connecting to public Wi-Fi due to security risks compared to 63% of other respondents.
Lee Hadlington is a lecturer in cyberpsychology at Nottingham Trent University. He said, “It is not surprising that individuals have started to worry more about cyber security, particularly when working from home. Many individuals were thrust into the ‘new normal’ of home working with very little preparation, training, or equipment.
“Let’s not forget, for most individuals in a workplace environment, cyber security is generally a second thought, and is usually something that is seen as the responsibility of someone else in the company,” he noted.
“The pandemic also meant people were isolated, with many turned to the one thing they did have access to the Internet. Of course, spending more time engaged in one activity could lead to an increase in perceptions of risk, particularly when people are being subjected to negative news stories about cyber security related issues,” Hadlington explained.
F-Secure recommended that remote workers take the following steps to manage and reduce the risks to their privacy and security.
- Avoid oversharing your screen during online meetings; use blurring or a background image when necessary.
- Secure your home network by unplugging unnecessary devices and using strong and unique Wi-Fi and router passwords.
- Make sure your system, programs and security software are up-to-date on all work and personal devices.
- Report suspicious emails, messages, phone calls or other communications to your employer.
- Avoid using work devices and home office devices for personal business or recreation.
- Avoid registering work email for personal services.