If you are working from home during the 21-day lockdown, it is a good idea to sign up for a virtual private network (VPN) service.
A VPN allows you to funnel your Internet traffic through an encrypted channel which is protected against snooping by your ISP or external attackers.
It can also shield your IP address from public view, maintaining your anonymity when browsing the Internet and allowing you to access region-locked services.
Many businesses use VPNs to secure traffic to and from their internal networks, and it may be required for remote workers to connect through their company’s virtual network to access their servers.
The security advantages of using a VPN to protect your traffic are numerous, especially if you are working remotely for a company that hosts sensitive data.
How a VPN works
A VPN works by routing your device’s Internet connection through a private server so that when your data is transmitted to the Internet, the destination server receives it from the VPN provider rather than directly from your PC and ISP.
As a VPN encrypts your Internet traffic, information that is sent over your connection cannot be intercepted by other parties that are on the same network as you, like hackers who are connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot.
For employees working remotely, this means their traffic is protected against many external attacks.
However, it is important to use a paid-for VPN from a reputable provider such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or CyberGhost.
It may be tempting to sign up for a free VPN, but many of these services collect user data and sell it to third-party advertising companies or the authorities.
There are a number of VPN types, including browser extensions, standalone services, router VPNs, and corporate VPNs.
Browser extensions only secure browsing data, and router VPNs must be installed on your network hardware to secure all the devices in your household.
It is advisable to use a standalone VPN if you are working remotely on a single device.
Checkmark cybersecurity director Rudi Dicks told MyBroadband that South Africans who are working remotely should make use of their company’s VPN or personal VPN to make sure their connection is secure.
“Use a VPN. If you have a VPN connection to your office, connect it before you do any work,” Dicks said.
“This VPN will create a secure tunnel to the office increasing your security significantly.”
“If you don’t have an office VPN, consider buying an annual subscription from a reputable VPN provider. Never make use of free VPNs.”
This will ensure your data is encrypted and will prevent many of the cybersecurity risks associated with working from home.
It is important to note that while they offer greatly improved security for remote workers, using a VPN may result in reduced upload and download speeds, depending on your home Internet connection.