Microsoft shares guidelines on cybersecurity and data protection during COVID19 lockdowns

NEW YORK: To keep devices safe from cyber attacks during COVID19 lockdowns, Microsoft has shared some useful guidelines on cybersecurity and data protection.

“Our world has changed dramatically over the last couple of months and in an effort to keep the wheels turning, companies across the world are switching to remote work and Microsoft is no different”. Earlier this month, the company asked tens of thousands of its employees from around the globe to work from home. A decision not made lightly as we all try to navigate the challenges of juggling the demands of home life with work hours.

Protecting your data, privacy and networks is another challenge that we are constantly engaged with. Microsoft analyses 6.5 trillion signals a day in order to identify emerging threats and protect users. With more of us going online via our home networks to work, do online banking, grocery shopping or even catch up with family members at a distance, cyber criminals will be looking for weaknesses to exploit. While we’re always on the lookout for these threats to your security, we still need your help to stay on top of our game.

In recent months, we’ve all had to rethink everyday hygiene like washing our hands and cleaning the surfaces we touch. Working securely from home should be no different. Much like how governments are asking us to make small changes while they consider the bigger ones, we want you to do the same when it comes to cybersecurity at home while we keep you protected.

A good place to start when it comes to cybersecurity hygiene is with email. “91 percent of cyberattacks start with email. To help protect you, we’ve created a multi-layered defence system that includes machine learning, detonation, and signal-sharing to quickly find and shut down email attacks. Avoid opening attachments from people you don’t know or you weren’t expecting to hear from. If you know the sender, but are still unsure, contact them directly to see if they meant to send you a file. Scammers will often instil a feeling of panic by setting a short timeframe for when you have to respond, with some sort of penalty. Finally, check to see if the sender’s name, signature and URL are the same. If an email has any of these red flags, send it to your spam folder and mark it as ‘phishing’. Email habits like these will go a long way to protecting you while you work from home.

One of the easiest ways you can help us keep your devices safe is to update the device software regularly. System updates are important for maintaining your device’s software to ensure it continues to run efficiently and helps keep you protected. Antivirus updates are also critical to making sure your device has the latest protection when it comes to virus and malware attacks.

Protect your data with regular backups. If by chance a virus does slip through and corrupts your data, a recent backup can be a real lifesaver. At the very least, try to save files that you can’t afford to lose, such as documents, pictures, financial information, favourite links, contacts, and important emails. If you’re concerned about space, Microsoft’s online cloud storage OneDrive is a great way to keep your files safe and accessible from anywhere in the world.

Much like how we have changed our hand washing routine, are sneezing into the crook of our elbows and keeping a safe distance from others to prevent risk, the same applies to cybersecurity. These small changes to your online habits keep our cybersecurity experts informed so that they can help prevent attacks on your devices and you can continue to work safely from home.

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