The Canberra Times

The growing need for cybersecurity in lockdown

The growing need for cybersecurity in lockdown

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It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on Australia's national economy, reshaping the way that most industries operate on a day-to-day basis.

As more and more Aussie industries tackle automation and other forms of digital acceleration, however, there is a doubly growing need for individuals and industries alike to also adopt cybersecurity practices to ensure the safety of both their homes and businesses, both in lockdown and post-pandemic.

Here are just a few circumstances where investing in cybersecurity should be a must, as well as some network security methods (such as VPNs) that will be useful elements of any cybersecurity strategy you'd like to implement for your home or business.

Diversified use of devices

If you're reading our introduction and thinking, 'what is a VPN?', then you are not alone. In fact, since piracy concerns in the mid-2010s, the utilisation of VPNs by Australian web users has been low in comparison to the US and other countries. If you want to ensure your privacy online, however, a VPN is crucial in your quest.

VPNs (or 'virtual private networks') act as secure 'tunnels' through which you can browse the web without having to make your computer's IP address, ISP (internet service provider), or even your geographical location visible to any outside eyes. Referring to this service as an encrypted tunnel is perhaps the easiest way to visualise how VPNs work, but in essence, they are becoming an increasingly valuable element of any well-rounded working from home set-up. Why?

Due to the working from home model, we have now begun using our personal devices for professional purposes, meaning we can risk both personal and organisational data when we browse the web. You can keep these elevated risks of data harvesting or phishing to a minimum simply by using a VPN and ensuring that no third-party hackers have access to your sensitive information.

The dangers of a segmented workforce

There is no doubt that the new working from home model adopted over 2020 has been an asset for most Australian families, as it provides parents and young professionals alike with flexibility in their workweek. It's worth mentioning, however, that this model doesn't come with its own workplace hazards. One of the most major hazards present in our new working from home model for Aussie professionals, is simply the fact that the workplace is segmented now more than ever before, and it can thus be trickier for organisations to combat any potential threats.

For this reason, it's imperative that organisations allocate funds towards attaining a proactive rather than reactive cybersecurity strategy. As your VPN connection is in better hands with a local server, your cybersecurity game plan is also best if it takes preventative measures rather than simply being a budget that should only be used in case of hackers and phishing attacks.

Online shopping on the rise

Since the height of lockdown in 2020, Australia has been experiencing an eCommerce boom of sorts, with a whopping 31 per cent increase in online shopping across the nation, as recorded by AusPost.

Of course, with the rise in online shopping coupled with a growing majority of Australians being confined to their homes, and thus looking to the web to keep busy, there are also increased risks of falling victim to hackers or phishing attacks online.

You can keep your sensitive information such as your address, emails, phone numbers, credit card information, and other sensitive financial information, safe from the prying eyes of malevolent hackers by using a VPN when making any transactions online, as well as using antivirus software that scans websites for any potential malware and other threats.

As you can see, cybersecurity measures don't have to be extensive in order to be effective. Even a locally-based VPN coupled with some antivirus software can greatly decrease the likelihood of your home or workplace falling victim to security threats online.

As modern malware is evolving at a rapid rate, however, it's worthwhile staying up-to-date with your software updates, as well as revisiting your cybersecurity game plan both during lockdown and post-pandemic as well, to ensure that you and your household or workplace are experiencing the best possible protection against digital threats.