Computing in public, awareness is the key.

It’s a plain and simple fact, working on the go can involve a lot of technology. Every application (or “app”) these days seems to have migrated to a mobile version of the software that used to be confined to the desktop PC arena as recently as five years ago.

Today we are never much more than a short skip away from a keyboard or touchscreen of one form or another, so the question of how we stay secure while working on the move has become a popular talking point.

Staying secure – and of course I mean keeping your ‘data’ secure – is not just about protecting your files and folders from malicious hackers; staying secure is also about securing your computer, tablet and smartphone’s defences against identity theft, phishing scams and the many methods that purveyors of malware will typically use to take up residency on an unsuspecting user’s computer.

Anti-virus and anti-malware protection should be a prerequisite for every user, whether they predominantly use their machine for business or personal use. But technology without common sense is like a car without petrol — and there is plenty you can do to protect yourself just by being aware of the risks of “computing in public” so to speak.

So many people cause themselves unnecessary amounts of stress while working on the go, but there are simple ways to make your life easier and safer. This list of top tips for effective mobile working should be learned by heart! 

  1. Count the items you take out of your bag out and count them back in if you are working while on public transport — don’t forget your power cable or any other important items!
  2. Think about where you are sitting and whether anyone can look over at your screen — this might sound like an obvious thing to point out, but thieves steal credit card PIN numbers by looking over peoples’ shoulders all the time, so what details do you have on your screen?
  3. As the use of personal mobile Wi-Fi hotspots grows, users should not be tempted to connect with an apparently free wireless connection in a public place unless it is advertised by the web café owner etc. If you don’t know where your connection comes from, then you don’t know what you are connecting to.
  4. Shut down your Bluetooth connection (unless you need it) when working in a public place. So-called ‘Bluejacking’ and ‘Bluesnarfing’ attacks are not the biggest information security risk around, but they are a consideration to be aware of.
  5. If you have to use a “public” (or kiosk) computer then make sure that you never access your online banking details, make electronic purchases or enter ANY personally identifiable information (including your address) on the machine. Be equally careful on your own laptop if using public Wi-Fi.
  6. If your smartphone has Internet access, have you enabled filters and other on board protection barriers? Similarly, turning off GPS capabilities can also limit location-trackers attempting to connect with your phone.
  7. Don’t ask a stranger to “look after” your laptop while you use the restroom or go to the bar in a web café. Similarly, keep your laptop bag close to you throughout an evening event if you have to keep all your equipment with you.
  8. Password protection should be enabled on your laptop and smartphone — and 12345678 or password or admin are not sensible passwords.
  9. Make a note of your smartphone provider’s emergency phone number so you can call them to have your phone immobilised in the event of a loss.
  10. Most important of all, make sure that you have a fully updated anti-virus suite installed and fully operational on your PC at all times. Protection should cover not only Internet security for web browsing, but also firewall technology, email defences, and shields to guard against threats carried via Instant Messenger services.
 All of the above advice should take you no more than a few minutes to think about and no more than a couple of clicks to bring into action. I’ve called it my common sense guide because these actions should become as natural as closing the lid on your laptop once you have finished working. Why not share them with a colleague and keep a friend safe too?

About Craig Griffin

Digital Marketing Consultant. I look after this website, a Facebook page and Instagram accounts for Fay Boyd.
This entry was posted in online, openwifi, security and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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