How to work securely from home

With so many people working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Homeland Security is advising businesses and workers to prepare for new cybersecurity threats.

Just this week, users of the popular Zoom video conferencing platform were hacked with pornographic and hate images.

Zoom's CEO says the platform has gone from a peak of 10 million users to 200 million last month, as people are using it for work meetings, school classes, and keeping in touch with friends while social distancing.

But several users have complained of what's called, "Zoom bombing," where hackers break into conference calls and post obscene images or racist statements. Zoom says it's now making the platform more secure by adding a default password to each account, and invited parties can be required to provide that password.

Plus Zoom says users can set up a "waiting room," which lets them see who's joining the call and block unwanted parties. Hosts can also disable the Join Before Host feature, lock meetings when all guests have arrived, and remove unwanted guests.

The FBI is warning people to watch out for coronavirus-related phishing emails that promise financial relief or look like they're from the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control. If you click on a link in these emails, you could download malware or ransomware onto your computer.


"Look at the sender of the emails. Sometimes you can't see that, but go and hover over that and you'll be able to see the sender. That email address has to match identically, letter to letter to what the sender is saying it is," explained Rob Cheng, CEO OF antivirus software maker PC Matic.

Cheng says victims won't know right away their computer has been hacked until it locks up.

"After a few hours or maybe a day, your computer will become inoperable and then you're going to get this big ransomware note on there and it's going to ask you pay in cryptocurrency," said Cheng.

He says they'll demand thousands, even millions, of dollars in cryptocurrency to get your company data back.

Experts also suggest using your company laptop and VPN rather than your personal computer. Company devices usually have more firewalls and antivirus protection. Experts say to keep your software updated, don't leave ports open at night, and don't use the same passwords for work that you use at home.

"That's another really big risk and that's how the bad guys get in," said Cheng.

If your computer is hit by a phishing scam or ransomware, report it to the FBI.