In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the majority of businesses have focused on setting up their employees to be able to work from home. In parallel to this, there is an increase in companies and individuals being targeted with cyber-attacks by opportunist cyber criminals who are seeking to take advantage of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. Among all types of cyber-attacks, the most common one is stealing of data or data breach.
This post includes a few common causes of data breaches for those who are working from home.
Weak and stolen credentials
Stolen passwords are one of the simplest and most common causes of data breaches. A large number of people rely on predictable phrases like ‘Password1’, ‘ABCDEFGH’, and ‘123456’, which means cyber criminals don’t even need to shed a drop of sweat to gain access to sensitive information.
Even moderately secure passwords can be cracked with the help of computer programmes that run through millions of the most popular credentials, so you need to think hard to create something original at the time of choosing a password. Memorize your password instead of writing it and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
All software has technical vulnerability that crooks can exploit in countless ways. That’s why the organizations that maintain those programs routinely look for and address exploits before they are discovered by criminals.
Any time a vulnerability is fixed, the software provider releases a patch, which needs to be applied by the organizations that use the program. This must be done promptly, because crooks – now alerted to the vulnerability – will be actively looking for organizations that are still exposed to the threat.
How to detect a data breach?
To identify breaches sooner, individuals and organizations can use the following tips
Tips to avoid data breaches
Start with cybersecurity basics. 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.
Keep an eye on your laptop. If you’re using a laptop, 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. Paperwork you no longer need can be treason 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.
Use an encrypted communication service. While working from home, communications between you and your staff / colleague / co-worker are obvious. Therefore, make sure your communications are end-to-end encrypted so that no one else except for concerned users can read your sent messages or listen to your calls. For having encrypted communications, you can use apps like Signal Private Messenger.
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