The pandemic has forced most people to work remotely, with work-from-home setups being the new norm. This trend is not new; remote working was already on the rise in the years leading up to 2020. However, the pandemic ramped up the numbers. Up to 30 percent of employees are estimated to be working remotely multiple days a week by the end of the year compared to just 3.6 percent in 2018. This has inevitably produced a new type of worker: the digital nomad.
Digital nomads are location-independent individuals who use technology to perform their jobs while often living a nomadic lifestyle. They can work remotely from virtually anywhere. However, being a digital nomad also comes with certain risks, including cybersecurity. When one connects to free Wi-Fi in public locations and leaves a digital trail in their wake, it may be the target of cybercriminals.
If you’re a digital nomad, here are a few tips on how you can improve your cybersecurity measures:
The Importance of Cybersecurity
We have never relied on technology and the internet more than we do today. Unfortunately, this has also brought about several dangers. The increased use of the internet has opened people up to more online vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals now have more victims to target for heinous activities such as phishing, fraud, theft, cyberextortion, and ransomware, to name a few. In fact, large-scale data breaches increased up to a staggering 273 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same time last year. Cyber attacks can affect anyone, whether individuals or corporations and they can cost up to billions of dollars in data loss and damages.
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting yourself through your hardware, software, systems, and data from digital attacks. Having multiple layers of protection in place for your personal equipment is essential. Firewalls, antivirus software, anti-spyware software, and password management tools need to be prioritized. These work together to protect you against sophisticated cyber attacks. To protect yourself well, it is important to consider cybersecurity tools and experts as a strong line of defense.
How to Improve Your Cybersecurity Measures
There are several ways you can improve your cybersecurity measures as a digital nomad. Here are some that you can prioritize to ensure your safety while working and traveling in different countries:
Encrypt your data and use strong passwords
Data encryption ensures that even if your private information and communication exchanges are intercepted, unauthorized persons or entities will not be able to read them. Start by encrypting all your files on your laptop and smartphone. It is also important to encrypt your removable storage devices, such as external hard drives and USB sticks. This way, nobody will be able to access your personal information and files even if your laptop gets lost or stolen. It’s best to use AES encryption as this is the most secure.
Learn the basics of cybersecurity
It is best to have your cybersecurity measures configured before leaving your home country. This requires learning the basics of cybersecurity and equipping yourself with key skills that will allow you to remain protected as you work and travel. One way to do this is to examine what universities are covering today. In fact, many universities now offer online cybersecurity programs for remote students and list their core topics online. While you won't get the same level of immersion, you will be able to research the latest trends to boost your devices’ security. You can also learn about contingency plans in case your files are compromised overseas. By taking your cue from such courses, you can ensure that all bases are covered in terms of your protection, even while you’re away from home.
Avoid internet points
Public Wi-Fi is perhaps one of the most glaring vulnerabilities that face digital nomads as they work from anywhere. Many of these hotspots are full of viruses, worms, and keyloggers. They may also intercept any traffic that passes through the router and slow your computer down significantly. If you absolutely must use them, then be sure it’s at a time where you won’t be inputting personal information using your keyboard or uploading sensitive data to the internet.
Thank you to Sadie Gildon for these amazing contribution!