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Staying Secure in the Gig Economy

Gig work is expanding, and businesses are taking full advantage of this shift.

Here at WeGoLook, we see the change toward the gig economy growing at an exponential rate.

With greater convenience for workers and a better bottom line for employers, what's not to love about the gig economy?

The problem is, many gig workers aren't aware of how to properly secure themselves in our increasingly online world.

Today, WeGoLook is here to help.


Internet Work is Booming But So Is Cybersecurity

With websites like WeGoLook, Upwork, and Freelancer, finding work online is easy. Specialized marketplaces like Envato and Amazon Mechanical Turk give gig workers even more options.

But Internet work requires new safety precautions.

In October of 2016, the Internet domain provider Dyn experienced a massive DDoS attack that took several major sites offline. Hackers accomplished this not with computers but by using connected devices like DVD players.

Most companies aren't properly equipped for cyber security. One in four companies surveyed by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported cases of cyber theft.

Your gig employer may be behind the times, but it's up to you to keep the information that passes through your hands secure.

Here are six security tips for today's gig worker that you can consider to keep secure.


1. Keep an Eye on Your Devices

Companies already experience an increased risk of cyber threats with bring-your-own-device to work policies. Particularly in the gig economy world!

Employees are concerned about their personal information becoming accessible to employers.

But gig workers are already dealing with the complexities of having work information on personal devices.

When you're working in public spaces, don't leave your computer or phone out of your sight. Hacking is more common than ever, and having physical access to a device makes it even easier.

With the WeGoLook app, you can't save anything directly to the app, a security measure that protects clients' data.

Also be cautious of plugging in any unknown or untrustworthy devices into your computer. USBs can contain viruses that steal or corrupt your data.


2. Strong Passwords Are a Must

If someone does manage to get access to your device or an account, the next best precaution is to have a strong password.

Use numbers, caps, and special characters if the platform allows them. Don't feel like you should stick to the minimum password length.

Consider using a passphrase instead of a single word. A string of words is harder for a hacker to crack than random letters and numbers, and can still be easy for you to remember. Just make sure it's not something so common that anyone could guess it.

If you're having trouble remember passwords, there are dozens of free password management apps out there to help. Check in your app store or Google.


3. Secure Connection

Use HTTPS and consider VPNs (virtual private networks) to do your work. VPNs give you secure internet access wherever you are. Freelancers who work in public areas like coffee shops or libraries will want to switch from public Wi-Fi as soon as possible.

Experts strongly recommend that employers brief independent contractors on the company's security policies. However not all employees do so.

Regardless, it's up to you to keep your employer or client's intellectual property safe. VPNs can also be useful for getting around geo-blocks if you're working with international customers.

Don't forget that you should also take all these precautions on your phone.


4. Encryption Can Be Your Friend

Did you know that you can use encryption for files and communications?

Maybe you've heard the saying that email is as private as skywriting. You've certainly seen all the political email scandals, even going up to the presidential level.

Today you have an obligation to protect online data. And it's easy to do so. You can sign up for free, easy to learn software like Virtru to protect your data in no time.


5. Go With a Digital Signature

It's no longer practical to print out, sign, and scan every document that needs a signature. Get a digital signature with your VPN, and for better security, try a public/private key pair.

You can use the public key for any document needed and send it out to clients. Your private key keeps your information secure and gives evidence of your identity.


6. Don't Abuse Your Access

If your gig granted you access to a system or account, don't ever go back to access it after the job is done. Your curiosity isn't a good enough reason to "check up" on a job.

You might also find yourself in legal trouble. There are now laws against accessing restricted information.

Employers should give gig workers temporary logins or limited access, however, if they don't, resist any temptation to take advantage of your access.

Working in a digital work is amazingly powerful. Information, income, and employment is all right at your fingertips. And this is wonderful!

But, you need to take measures to secure your privacy and livelihood. Consider the above tips to yourself and your information private as a gig worker.