How life will change after the pandemic and how to protect yourself online
According to a recent YouGov poll, only 6% of Britons want to return to life before the pandemic. No one should think that everything will return to normal in the coming months. Even if the offices follow the latest regulations and are prepared to greet workers, employees are in no rush to get back on public transport to get there.
The lockdown has accelerated what was already happening: a transition to telecommuting and the use of Zoom and other online tools for coworkers to communicate and collaborate almost as effectively as face-to-face.
Of course, the use of technology has not been limited to the workplace alone. Schools – or at least some of them – have quickly adopted Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, and other services to ensure that their students can receive and submit homework, as well as attend virtual classes via video calls.
We have also used the Internet to buy everything from food to new ink cartridges, as well as exhausted our rates while children watched content on Netflix and parents tried to participate in a video conference. Even medical visits have become virtual.
While certain things are slowly returning to normal, our dependence on technology is not going anywhere.
Cybercriminals know this and have increased their efforts to scam the most innocent with dangerous email attachments, fake web pages and much more. Official data shows that all of this is only getting worse.
We spoke with Jesús Sánchez-Aguilera García, Director of Consumer EMEA at McAfee, to find out exactly what we need to be aware of as we get used to the “new normal”. This is what he told us.
The office will have a new look
Despite the government gradually encouraging workers to return to their offices, the UK saw a 2.3% increase in teleworking in the first week of July alone. Since March, McAfee data shows an increase in work of 9.2% in several European countries, and there are many indications that that will continue to be the case.
There are several reasons that explain it. In the short term, many will be reluctant to use public transportation and, with social distancing measures still in place, once offices are fully open, they will likely operate at reduced capacity.
In the long term, the reality is that, even when social distancing measures no longer exist, companies have proven that they can work with their entire team working from home, so the idea of a central office may become a thing of the past.
In the early days of lockdown, when measures like working from home seemed temporary, many likely put their online privacy and security on the back burner . But now that we’re heading into a more long-term transition to telecommuting, it’s a good idea to invest effort in making sure our home office is protected.
To start with, you should check that you have a virtual private network installed on all your devices. If this is not the case, you must ensure that your data, both stored and shared, are protected.
Class, at home
Children have been returning to class little by little, but reduced classes, prioritizing certain age groups and parents’ reluctance to send their children to school means that it will still take time to return to classes as they were before.
While limiting your kids’ online activity was a short-term solution, this will no longer work in the long term.
Thus, with children having to continue to use the screen for both their education and socialization, parents must ensure that they are protected from online threats . They can do it like this:
- Sharing the experience with their sons or daughters by sitting down with them to teach, monitor and explain the context of new digital environments
- Explaining to children in their own language so that they become familiar with certain risks associated with online activity
- Checking your apps, installing a VPN, configuring maximum security settings and using parental controls on all your devices
Spend and manage money also online
Although some non-essential goods stores are starting to open their doors, the world of shopping is somewhat different than it was six months ago. There are measures of social distance, the changing rooms are closed and customers are invited not to touch the products or to enter in a group.
But once it is no longer a novelty, long lines and a less pleasant experience could cause the public to stop going to physical stores. In that case, they will go to online shopping , which has already risen 37% and will not stop increasing.
For cybercriminals , that means more digital buyers and bankers to spy on. According to a recent report by McAfee , the global financial services industry experienced the highest number of cyberattacks ever recorded.
This is why it is important for consumers to know how to shop online without putting their personal data at risk. The best ways to protect yourself are:
- Check the source and think twice before sharing our home address, phone number or bank details when completing a purchase or using online banking
- If the source is unfamiliar, proceed with caution
- Always remember that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is
- Look for reliable websites: be careful with copies that appear to be from banking institutions and visit the bank’s official website before entering any personal information
The future: the day to day will continue basically online (for now)
As the restrictions relax, there remains a general sense of anxiety that may override the desire to get back to the life we had before we felt safe. And while people will want to get back to certain aspects of life from before pretty quickly, there are other activities that will remain online .
For example, according to a recent Dynata survey , 39% of people have consulted with an online healthcare professional in the past few months. Why should people now go back to medical visits in person?
The same goes for gym classes, visits to rental or purchase houses, or even cooking or language classes. While having a drink in the pub or watching the latest movie at the theater sounds appealing, when faced with the reality of having to ride public transport and navigate the rules of social distance, many may choose to watch their favorite movies. online until restrictions are relaxed.
What does this all mean? The more integrated the online world is in our daily lives, the more sophisticated the tactics used by cybercriminals will become. So consumers must be aware of all aspects of their online life .
It’s important to be alert to threats and make sure your online security is as trendy as your devices are. This combined with good security software on all your devices, the future will be much more secure.