Working Safely at Home II | Home Office Security, Protect Screens & Other Work Equipment

Working safely at home II | home office security, protect screens & other work equipment

Employees, family members and flat mates: Currently, many households have several people living together permanently. However, IT security needs to be considered especially when working from home. The company laptop as a family computer? Uploading photos of "colleagues" (the children) in the social media channels? We have summarized the most important aspects of home office security.

Treat your laptop, mobile device (company phone) and company data as if you were sitting at your physical office location. This is how most of the rules for secure working from the home office are summarized.

It helps to put yourself in the office location's mind when you have individual questions. So imagine that your child/children, your partner, your roommate would visit you at the office. Ask yourself the following question: If you would allow on-site visits, would company policies allow you to let them into your work computer - with full access to all data and the Internet?

Important: Regardless of your location, consider laptops, corporate cell phones and other work tools such as files and internal resources for what they are: pure work tools. Sensitive company data remains sensitive - regardless of your individual location, and controlled access to end devices must always be maintained. When you start your work, make sure that the screen is not visible. If you interrupt your work, always activate the screen lock. In this way, you help to act data-consciously and in the interests of corporate security at home as well.

Alternatively, as the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) puts it: "Make sure that unauthorized persons cannot view your data".

When we are all in the home office, can I publish pictures of my child? That is what everyone is doing right now.

Social media is just another way of interpersonal communication. We are social beings and interested in other people. In addition, parents are interested in their children, for the most part. That they do want to publish photos of their offspring is understandable.

In times of lockdown, we are seeing more and more people publishing photos of their children at their home office desk in social media - not only on Facebook and Instagram, but also on B2B marketing platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.

Before this comes to your mind: If everyone is doing it, then I can also upload children's photos – we would like to give you some background information on this.

1. Publishing your children's photos creates a kind of electronic path, like a digital print that forms a digital identity and gives up any control over its distribution with publication.

People can take screenshots and copies of the photos, save them and use them in other ways without your knowledge or influence. Finally, all your publications in social media contain information that is valuable to advertisers and data collectors; if you post a photo of a child, you will be identified as someone who might be interested in, say, baby products.

2. And: Deleted postings are obviously no longer included in your social media profile, but they can continue to exist on the websites of the Internet Archive and on social media servers, because "The Internet doesn't forget".

Once shared, data can be revealed by the search algorithms of major search engines for years to come. Today, the consequences of this are incalculable - and incomparably more sensitive when they affect third parties (children).

3 There is also the phenomenon of "digital abduction". Photos of strangers are stolen from social media and given new names and identities, often claiming that the child in the pictures is their own.

4 There are also groups of people who use children's pictures from social media for so-called "baby role-playing games". Among the hashtags #KidRP, #AdoptionRP and #BabyRP there are specially created accounts that contain stolen children's photos and false information about the identities of the persons depicted, sometimes with explicit captions and comments.

Summarized and highly simplified: Your social media postings with the photos of your children at home could attract the attention of people of dubious interest.

Keep in mind that your social media postings from the home office can often only provide small indicators that can help people recognize where you live.

Postings with information such as location labels and landmarks give both strangers and known but potentially dubious groups of people the ability to locate you, your children and other family members.

Incidentally, the BSI also offers "Information for Citizens" as well as a service telephone number where private individuals can ask specific questions about IT security. The current focus is on "Learning digitally safely" or "Video telephony made easy".

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