The global spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has a notable impact on workplaces worldwide, and many organizations are encouraging employees to work from home. But suddenly working remotely can be a major change for both – organizations and employees. It can bring a number of problems with regard to cybersecurity.
While working from home, the boundaries between work and private life are breaking down. Business is being done over home ISPs, with vulnerable printers and routers, home automation systems in the background and even partners and children listening in on conversations or sharing machines while working for different organizations.
Amid all this chaos, new security threats are surfacing. Some are old attacks brought back now that we have become more vulnerable now, and others are new scams. Traditional security measures that have been used daily for years can’t protect a fully remote staff without adaptation. That means we need to rethink our mindsets and approach to security right now.
Online Work Increases Cyber Security Risks
Without the security protections that office systems afford us – such as firewalls and blacklisted IP addresses – we are far more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The most obvious risk is that most of our tasks are done online – and if something’s on the Internet, then there’s always the possibility of a cyber-criminal compromising it.
They might attempt to do this by cracking your password, which could be easier than ever if you’re reusing login credentials for the various online apps which you are using to stay in touch with your team / co workers.
Alternatively, attackers could send phishing emails that are intended to trick you into either handing over your details or downloading a malicious attachment containing a keylogger.
The dangers of phishing should already be a top concern, but things are especially perilous during the coronavirus crisis. A recent report found that there has been a 600% increase in reported phishing emails since the end of February, with many of them cashing in on the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Information Can Be Weaponized
In the past few weeks, attackers have started taking advantage of human weaknesses. Recent example of this is when hackers have developed a malicious mobile application posing as a legitimate one developed by the World Health Organization. A vulnerable person could easily mistake this malicious app for a real WHO app. Once installed, the application downloads the Cerberus banking trojan to steal sensitive data.
These types of attacks essentially weaponize sensitive information, because they can easily be done with applications that provide legitimate benefits, too. Before, attackers had to plan their cons for diverse interests and lures, but right now the entire world is sharing a mutual crisis. COVID-19 has become our common watering hole, but with the right awareness and education, we will be able to defend ourselves.
Devices / Apps Should Be A Concern
Organizations should also be concerned about employees using their own devices and using trusted software / apps.
This ensures that the necessary tools are in place to defend against cyber security risks, such as anti-malware software and up-to-date applications.
It also gives IT team oversight of the organization’s IT infrastructure and allows it to monitor any malicious activity, such as malware or any unauthorized logins.
The Bottom Line
Once and for all, working from home could be a very stressful situation for you because attackers and hackers are already active out there, but with the right tools and proper awareness you can put yourself in a safe environment even while working from home. Below are a few tips you need to follow to stay ahead in this period of adjustment:
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