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What Not to Do on Your Company Computer to Avoid Security Breaches?

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As December unfolds, and you find yourself winding down at work, the extra time at your disposal might tempt you to use your company computer for leisurely activities like watching a movie or tending to personal administrative tasks.

At least 70% of employees admit to doing activities that are not work-related on their company computer. Although some employers may ignore your browsing habits, it is important to reconsider your activities on your work PC or laptop, particularly in light of cybersecurity concerns. You should always be mindful of your actions on these devices, says Anna Collard, SVP of Content Strategy & Evangelist at KnowBe4 AFRICA.

To ensure the security of your work environment and protect sensitive information, here are five activities you should refrain from doing on your company computer:

1. Store personal files:

Experts unanimously agree that storing your files on a company computer is the worst thing you can do. If your laptop gets infected, your IT department may have to wipe all your files. Your files might also be visible to everyone in the company. “Avoid storing personal files and photos on your computer,” says Collard. “Do not use company storage data for your stuff.”

2. Save passwords:

Another big no-no is using your browser to save and auto-fill your passwords. “Rather make use of a password manager if your organization has one,” she recommends. If concerned about the safety of a password manager, ‘salt’ your passwords stored in there by adding or leaving out characters manually.

“That way, you protect yourself should someone hack the password manager,” she says. If not allowed, write your passwords down rather than storing them on your browser or some other file on your company computer. The likelihood of cyber-criminals stealing a physical record is virtually zero.

3. Stream films from dodgy websites:

Watching movies on company devices is common, but using illegal sites poses risks. Torrent sites, where people share movies, can introduce malicious software onto your work computer. Collard suggests using safer sites like Netflix or Showmax to avoid introducing malware or vulnerabilities.

4. Perform sensitive tasks on public Wi-Fi:

Connecting to a free Wi-Fi network can be dangerous, especially when doing sensitive tasks like online banking. Public Wi-Fi is susceptible to snooping and sniffing by cybercriminals. Exercise caution when accessing sensitive information on public networks. Using a virtual private network (VPN) and creating a mobile hotspot with your phone are additional security measures.

5. Avoid updates:

Ignoring software updates is risky as they patch vulnerabilities that hackers exploit. Collard emphasizes the importance of installing updates promptly. Even though it may be inconvenient, updates are essential for maintaining the security of your computer.

It is crucial to align your actions with your company’s policy and exercise caution on company-owned devices. Remember that the device is an asset that does not belong to you, so refrain from any activities you wouldn’t want your boss to know about.

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