The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats Freelancers Face
Blog / The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats Freelancers Face
Freelancing is more popular than ever before; there are an estimated 1.2 billion freelancers globally. For many, this can appear as a great way of working.
However, with freelancing comes a selection of associated cybersecurity risks. The responsibility to remain safe online and be vigilant all falls on the freelancer themselves, with there being no designated department to deal with cybersecurity on behalf of a company’s employees.
There are also cyberthreats which affect freelancers more than other sectors. Here are some of the biggest threats faced through this type of work.
As an employee of a business, your company will likely impose restrictions on the files and programs which can be downloaded onto a device at work. However, as a freelancer, none of these regulations are in place and the devices used for work are likely to be the same devices used for personal and recreational means.
Combined with the fact personal devices may not have the same level of anti-virus and anti-malware software installed, the chances of downloading malicious software onto your device are greater. You can learn more about malware here.
Out of date software
Following on from the previous point on the freedom of freelancers and the lack of regulation they face, compared with an employee of a company, there is no requirement for software to be kept up to date.
It is common for software used by employees in an organisation to be kept updated, and specific people are likely to be designated with this task. However, freelancers are not required to keep their programs up to date and may not know when updates are available.
This can leave them vulnerable to attack as threat actors will seek to exploit vulnerabilities in unpatched software when they become known. Without installing software updates to patch these vulnerabilities, you are leaving yourself susceptible to attack.
Freelancers are heavily reliant on communication with others to find work and network. This is likely to involve giving contact information to relatively unknown people in the hope to expose their name.
This openness online can also, however, become a vulnerability. Large amounts of email are likely to be received by the freelancer, and not all of these may be genuine. Phishing emails could be sent, with cybercriminals hoping to socially engineer victims into clicking on malicious links and installing rogue attachments.
Often, the willingness of freelancers to interact with the messages they have been sent, as is typically the nature of their work, leaves them vulnerable to being exploited.
Social media hacking/identity theft
As much as freelancers may rely on email communication, social media today may be as if not more important.
Your profiles on different social media sites are what is likely to get you noticed as a freelancer and is an important medium for networking. Your account, as well as your identity and reputation, are vital. Damage to your reputation can have severe consequences for a freelancer, who rely on the trust people put in them.
These are the biggest cybersecurity threats facing freelancers specifically. Those working in this sector should recognise, while it is a type of work that definitely has its benefits, being solely responsible for your cybersecurity can potentially leave you vulnerable to cyber attacks. Understanding these threats can help keep you secure.
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