4 Tips If You Use Zoom, Slack, FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Any Other Tool for Remote Work

Social distancing and working from home are either encouraged or required in many countries as means to stop the spread of COVID-19. Consequently, applications like Zoom or Slack are currently extremely popular as many people use them to chat with their loved ones or to work from home. The problem is that if you are not careful when using such applications, you might make it possible for cybercriminals to hack your account, gain access to your computer, or, even worse, get access to the systems of your workplace. Thus, whether you are new at using remote-collaboration platforms or have been using them for years, we recommend reading our full blog post if you want to learn how to be safe while using collaboration tools.

Collaboration tools allow users to talk to one another as if they are in the same room. However, unlike a real conversation, a virtual one can be overheard by people from anywhere around the world if they find ways to gain an unauthorized access. For instance, hackers were able to join password-protected meetings on the Cisco WebEx web-conferencing platform due to a bug. Many other collaboration tools have also faced problems related to their security. For example, cybersecurity specialists recently found a vulnerability in Slack that could have allowed hackers to gain access to customers’ secret sessions’ cookies and take over their accounts.

Of course, possible weakness in a collaboration tool is not the only thing that makes using it risky. Bad password management skills and careless behavior might help hackers gain access to your accounts without having to exploit any vulnerabilities. Naturally, if you want to prevent it, we recommend reading the following tips that will help you protect your or workplace’s computers and systems against hackers whether you are using Zoom, Slack, FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or any other collaboration tool.

Get updates and newest versions right away

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for vulnerabilities that they could exploit and there is no doubt that collaboration tools are on their radar right now. Sadly, if there is an unknown weakness in an application that you are using, you might not be able to do anything about it. All you can hope for is that the creators of the tool or cybersecurity specialists will find it before hackers do. However, even if it is found and fixed, you will not be safe until you get the needed update or new version that would remove the discovered vulnerability. Therefore, you should never put off installing updates, even if it seems inconvenient. It is better to invest a couple of minutes than to be sorry later.

Create strong passwords

Cybersecurity specialists say that a strong password determines security. That is because not everyone uses additional security layers like Two-Factor authentication. Thus, if a password is the only thing that stands between your account and hackers, you must make it strong if you want to protect it. A strong password not only should be made from both lower-case and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols but also should be unique.

Each of your account ought to have a different passcode. This way you can protect your other accounts if one of them gets hacked, because it is likely that cybercriminals might try to use the cracked password to log into more of your accounts. Another thing that is important when thinking of a strong combination is its length. Eight symbols used to be enough, but, currently, specialists advise using more than twelve characters. Remembering lots of such long and unique passcodes could be challenging, which is one of the reasons why you should think about password management tools.

Use password management programs

Protecting passwords of your work accounts is crucial if you do not want to be the reason why your workplace’s systems got infected with malware or experienced a data breach. If it happens, your employer could lose not only money but also its customers’ trust. Naturally, if you do not want this to happen, you must protect your work accounts as best as you can. While a strong password determines security of your accounts and profiles, a password management application ensures that you do not forget complex passcodes and keeps them safe.

You browser could offer an integrated password management tool, but you should know that a dedicated password manager is a safer option. Thus, if you have a lot of passwords to create and want them to be strong, we recommend using a dedicated password management application like Cyclonis Password Manager that can generate strong passwords, let you access them from multiple devices, log you into your accounts automatically, and more.

Watch out for phishing attacks

The last our tip is to stay alert. Cybercriminals may try to hack collaboration applications by sending their users phishing messages. They might contain malicious links that if opened could start downloading harmful data. Also, users should watch out for phishing messages that contain files as opening them could infect your system or allow hackers to steal sensitive information. An attacker could deliver a phishing message from a compromised account or by exploiting weaknesses of the collaboration tool that you use.

Therefore, if you receive a file or a link that you did not expect to get, we advise asking its sender for more information about it. Even if it looks like it is your colleague, you might not know that his account has been hacked. Of course, a cybercriminal could pretend to be your colleague and might be able to provide a believable explanation. Thus, it would not hurt to scan the suspicious file with a reliable antimalware tool or have a closer look at the attached link to see where it leads before opening it.

To conclude, even though a strong password determines security, it is not enough if you want to be truly safe online. You cannot ever lose your guard. Especially at times like these when many of us must work from home and hackers are trying to take advantage of it by targeting collaboration tools that we use for remote working. Thus, we encourage you not only to use our tips but also to follow cybersecurity news closely so you would be aware of the newest threats and ways to protect your devices against them.

By Foley
April 21, 2020
April 21, 2020