Many people in Columbia County who would normally be working from their offices in Clatskanie and across the region, may now be working from home as a proactive safety effort due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Law enforcement agents are cautioning those employees working from home to take extra security steps.
Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers said while working from home can - and hopefully will - help slow the spread of the coronavirus, it brings new challenges, including juggling work while kids are home from school, learning new software and collaboration programs and managing paper files at home.
As you're getting your work-at-home systems set up, Landers offers the following security steps for protecting your devices and personal information.
Start with- cybersecurity basics like Do Not Click!
Keep your security software up to date. Use passwords on all your devices and apps. Make sure the passwords are long, strong and unique: at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols and capital and lowercase letters.
Secure your home network- Start with your router
Turn on encryption (WPA2 or WPA3). Encryption scrambles information sent over your network so outsiders can't read it. WPA2 and WPA3 are the most up-to-date encryption standards to protect information sent over a wireless network. No WPA3 or WPA2 options on your router? Try updating your router software, then check again to see if WPA2 or WPA3 are available. If not, consider replacing your router. For more guidance, read Securing Your Wireless Network and Secure Remote Access.
Keep an eye on your laptop and cell phone. If you're using a laptop or a cell phone to work, make sure it is password-protected, locked and secure. Never leave it unattended - like in a vehicle or at a public charging station.
Securely store sensitive files. When there's a legitimate business need to transfer confidential information from office to home, keep it out of sight and under lock and key. If you don't have a file cabinet at home, use a locked room.
Dispose of sensitive data securely. Don't just throw it in the trash or recycling bin. Shred it with a micro-cut shredder. Paperwork you no longer need can be a treasure to identity thieves if it includes personal information about customers or employees.
Follow your employer's security practices. Your home is now an extension of your office. So, follow the protocols that your employer has implemented.
Law enforcement contacts:
- Contact the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 541-265-4277.
- Contact the Columbia County Sheriff's Office at 503-366-4611.
- Contact the Oregon Justice Department at 503-378-4400.
Learn how to file a complaint about price gouging by calling the Oregon Department of Justice Fraud and Consumer Protection Section's new price gouging hotline at 503-378-8442.