Working from home? Take these cybersecurity steps

Posted at 4:00 AM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 08:42:46-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — With stay-at-home orders now in effect across the Kansas City metro, thousands of people will shift to working remotely.

For many, it's the first work-from-home experience of their careers.

That's the case for Ted Kapke, a Lee's Summit attorney.

"I've got my chair and my work table," Kapke said, giving a tour of his home office. "I've got my shelf with my daughters' pictures, my wife's picture."

Kapke spoke to the 41 Action News Investigators through Zoom, a video conferencing tool now facilitating his calls with clients.

With a few exceptions, the Missouri Supreme Court suspended nearly all in-person court proceedings until April 17.

"This technology exists. It makes our lives easier, and I figured I've got time to figure it out because there's not much else we can be doing," Kapke said.

But the influx of Americans working remotely brings with it a concern about cybersecurity.

"We have to raise our awareness immediately," said Frankie Bellucci, a tech expert.

Bellucci, who owns a computer repair and smart technology firm, said phishing scams are on the rise. It's happening at a time when people might be more vulnerable to the attacks.

"I think when people are scared, they're more prone to act without thinking something through," he said.

Bellucci compiled a list of best cybersecurity practices for working from home:

  • Follow your company's IT recommendations
  • Avoid public WiFi
  • Make sure home WiFi is password-protected
  • Don't save passwords in a web browser
  • Use a password manager (CNET recommends these)
  • Update operating systems
  • Check for malware or spyware and have it removed (will likely require professional help)

"Take a deep breath and relax through it, think through it," Bellucci said. "If you don't know, if there's a questions, call a professional."

That's what Kapke does for his law firm.

"We have a technical consultant who makes sure we stay safe and have bank-level security on our server, multiple levels of backups so we don't lose information," Kapke said.

It's part of a new virtual reality that companies have to be aware of.

"I think this is a brave new world that we're in, but we're creative people," Kapke said, "We can get around the need for social distance by using the technology that has frankly been there for years now."