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Safe Banking

How to work from home safely

August 25, 2023
min read

The workplace has changed, and that means our security practices need to change, too.

Woman working from home using headset

The remote workplace is here to stay. And these days, people aren’t just working from home! From coffee shops to vacation rentals, they’re working from anywhere with an internet connection.

According to a recent survey, 85% of Canadians are interested in remote or hybrid work. And while working from home comes with convenience and flexibility, it also poses unique security risks.

“Cybercrime is growing exponentially every year,” says Sheila Jonson, Information Systems Security Officer at Cambrian. “That’s why you need to protect yourself in any way that you can, especially when you work remotely.”

We’re covering some of the main cybersecurity risks that you might face when working from home:

Remote work risks

Watch out for these common security risks that arise when you work away from the office:

Physical theft

If you leave your laptop in the trunk of your car or unattended in a coffee shop, a bad actor could steal it and gain access to its contents.

“Remember to keep your work devices with you at all times!” suggests Sheila.

Unsafe passwords

Even the best cybersecurity measures can be undermined by one weakness: A bad password.

Passwords are the key to all your online accounts. If they can be easily guessed by a hacker, it’s time to give them a refresh.

Along with making your passwords more secure, you can add multi-factor authentication for additional security. As a Cambrian member, you can add two-factor authentication to your account.

Public Wi-Fi

“Using public Wi-Fi puts you at risk of an MITM Attack (Man In The Middle Attack),” says Sheila.

“This is when a hacker/bad actor will create a fake public Wi-Fi network connection for you to log in for ‘free internet access’. But once you do so, any sites you use can be seen by the hacker—including the account credentials to your bank account, email, and more.”

If you’re connecting to your workplace network using public Wi-Fi, you could be at risk of sending sensitive information through an unencrypted network. That means it’s easier for cybercriminals to spy on what you’re doing and steal confidential information.

Using personal devices instead of corporate devices

Many workers choose to use their personal laptops, phones, or computers for work. This puts you at risk of data theft and data exposure because personal devices are typically less secure than corporate ones.

Targeted phishing emails

Have you ever received a strange email or text from an unknown sender, or a message from your colleague that didn’t sound quite right?

Always think twice before clinking on links or attachments you receive in emails. Even if it seems urgent, take a second to slow down, look closely, and be critical of what the message is asking you to do.

Learn more about how to identify phishing emails.


In coffee shops or open workspaces, you never know who could be listening to your phone calls or looking at your screen. Be careful about accessing sensitive information when you aren’t in a private place.

“Someone looking over your shoulder could easily see what’s on your screen,” says Sheila.

Remote work security: Best practices

If you’re connecting to your workstation from home, then it’s important to secure your home network. Let’s dive into how you can stay safe:

Use a VPN

How does a VPN help you stay secure when working remotely?

“A VPN connection (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your internet connection and masks your IP address, so that no one knows your online identity and activity,” explains Sheila. “This helps protect your data from cyber-attacks and ensure your online privacy.”

A VPN service creates a secure connection between your computer and your company’s data. And when you connect to a server remotely, it’s essential to make sure that connection is secure!

If not, you could be at risk of a security breach—which is not only dangerous for your personal information, but your employer’s, too.

A secure VPN helps keep your information private, from your location to the messages you’re sending.

Add a cover to your webcam

With the rise of remote work, video calls are the new way to host meetings - but do you ever wonder if hackers could be using your webcam to spy on you?

Webcam hacking (or camfecting) is when a malicious person takes control of your laptop or desktop camera—often without you knowing—and uses it to spy on what you’re doing.

“A cybercriminal can bypass the active indicator light on your webcam, so you may be totally unaware that you’re being spied on,” says Sheila.

One way to ensure you never have to worry about this: Cover your webcam when it’s not being used. You can purchase a sliding cover for your camera, or just use a sticky note!

Stay up to date

It’s tempting to ignore software update prompts—after all, they tend to come up whenever you’re in the middle of the workday.

But it’s important to keep all your software up to date. This gives you the most current protection against security risks.

“If there’s a problem with the operating system on your computer and you don’t update it, hackers can exploit that,” says Sheila. “Software updates are the patches for these security flaws.”

Keep up on your cyber hygiene!

It’s important to maintain and take care of your devices, from the software you use to the security features you enable.

By staying on top of your cyber hygiene, you can ensure your laptop or smartphone is less vulnerable to attacks or other system issues when you work remotely.

“Be sure to use strong passwords! Set up multi-factor authentication with your bank account or email, make sure to always be connected to a VPN, and install an anti-virus software,” advises Sheila.

“You can also change the default username and password on your home Wi-Fi network router – which a lot of people forget to do!”

Bank safely with Cambrian

One of the most important accounts to protect is your bank account. At Cambrian, your security is our top priority! To learn more about how we protect our members, contact us today.

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