A rise in remote work has been observed since the pandemic caused restrictions. In spite of this, it seems that remote work is here to stay. Work-from-home setups, however, aren’t entirely safe – actually, they make people more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Remote work is more than just working from your home.
So what should you watch out for when you work from home? Always look out for attempts on your privacy and security through phishing, ransomware, spyware, zero-day attacks, data theft, and sabotage. Manage the risk of these threats by educating yourself about these threats and knowing how to protect yourself against them.
The Realities of Work-From-Home Setups
People tend to overlook the dangers of work-from-home setups on their data privacy and security. With no security protection in place, the risk of cyber-attacks increases. The biggest risk of working remotely is the possibility of losing your important files and data.
1) Growth and Virtualization of the Workforce Increases Cyber Risk
There is this constant trade-off between growth and cybersecurity in work-from-home setups. While remote work allows for the company’s growth, it makes companies more vulnerable to cyber threats.
Growth increases the “attack surface” of your company as interactions are made with other parties and networks. Regulating cyber activity is difficult with rapid expansion, especially since growth does not happen in predictable and uniform ways.
2) Cyber Risk Has No Definite Endpoint
Cyber threats will always be a problem that all internet users need to look out for. There is no definite end to detecting and solving threats as cybercriminals always look for a way to compromise your data privacy and security.
A defined solution to eliminate cyber risk also doesn’t exist as this is something that you constantly need to address. The only thing you can do is to be aware of the current cyber threats and manage them accordingly.
3) Humans are the Weakest Link in Cybersecurity
Most people tend to perceive investing in cybersecurity as an unnecessary expense. This may be resolved if companies that allow remote work will regularly educate their employees through training and workshop sessions. Being updated on the latest cybersecurity incidents and threats is important as cyber crimes evolve along with our current technology.
Top Cybersecurity Risks of Remote Work
Investing in cybersecurity starts with awareness of what to look out for when you work from home. The following are the potential cyber threats that may compromise your data:
- Zero-day attacks
- Data theft
One of the most common cyber threats to security and information is phishing emails. Phishing isn’t limited to emails. Other communications may be used to have users download malware that obtains sensitive data. What usually happens is that the scammer uses another identity to ask for your confidential information. Always watch out for fake email addresses, grammatical errors, and messages that put pressure on the user.
This is something familiar to those who started remote work setups during the pandemic. Ransomware is malicious software that infects networks of systems before demanding payment. Phishing is also a way for cybercriminals to target users using this. In other cases, a user’s outdated VPN compromises both the company and the user’s system.
If ransomware asks for “ransom” before restoring the user or the company’s system, spyware is malicious software that is implanted in the system. This is designed to collect data and information for fraudulent activities. Sometimes competitor companies use this to collect information that may be used for competitive advantage.
4) Zero-day attacks
A zero-day attack is when hackers find an unknown vulnerability and exploit it before it can even be detected or responded to by software developers. Cybercriminals usually target operating systems and apps which are difficult to monitor remotely. It puts emphasis on fast detection and response to cybersecurity threats.
5) Data Theft
This is an incident of a data breach that involves the illegal transfer or storage of information. In work-from-home setups, what usually happens is that log-in details are obtained to access employee or customer databases.
This usually happens when the company is infiltrated by its own workers who intentionally wanted to cause damage to the company’s assets. This means that you also need to be on the lookout when sharing personal and confidential information with other employees working in the company.
Tips to Stay Safe from Cyber Threats When Working From Home
The risk of cyber threats will always be there, and it’s something all internet users should watch out for. However, this is especially important for those who work remotely to ensure that your data and that of the company’s is safeguarded. Here are some tips to stay safe from cyber threats:
- Be aware of the basics
- Equip yourself with the right software
- Shield your data with strong passwords
- Be responsible in using video call platforms
- Report issues immediately
1) Be Aware of The Basics
The first step to protecting yourself is knowing the basic ways of doing so. Protect your data privacy and security by knowing what to look out for and taking the right precautions.
a) Don’t Turn Off the VPN
Work-from-home setups usually involve connecting to the company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). The purpose of this is to secure data transmitted between the company and the employee. Although cyber incidents also occur because of the VPN, using the network is much safer than public networks.
Companies usually invest in good cybersecurity through VPN, but it’s still important to educate oneself on how to properly use it. Don’t turn off the VPN and watch out for updates.
b) Educate Yourself on Phishing / Security
If your company offers company-wide cybersecurity training courses, you should definitely sign up. Always keep updating yourself using company-provided workshops and training sessions as cyber threats usually appear in different forms. Review the guidelines and rules provided by your company to secure your personal and confidential information.
c) Keep Your Devices Separate
It’s important to use different devices for work and personal purposes to minimize the sensitive information accessed by hackers. This will also help you separate your family life from your professional life to avoid instances where your family members accidentally access shared files from work. It may also jeopardize your company’s data when family members become susceptible to cyber threats.
2) Equip Yourself With the Right Software
Aside from always using and updating your company’s VPN, it’s also important to equip yourself with minimum protection by downloading the right software or updating your existing software and investing in good antivirus tools.
a) Regularly Update Your Computer
Cyber threats are evolving along with technological advancements, so it’s important to update your computer to provide at least minimum protection. Aside from your operating system, your web browser and other applications must also be updated.
b) Invest in Good Antivirus Tools
Working in the office ensures more security for your data and files as companies usually invest in cybersecurity tools to protect their systems and software. Working from home requires you to also secure your devices and data using antivirus tools.
3) Shield Your Data With Strong Passwords
Most people overlook the importance of passwords. When working from home, it’s important to secure your network, devices, apps, and files using strong passwords.
a) Use Strong Passwords for All Logins and Devices
Don’t just think of a password, make sure that it’s as complex as possible. Use it for all your devices and relevant applications just to make sure that all your data are safeguarded in case the device gets stolen. The automatic locking feature is also recommended to ensure that your devices are always locked.
b) Set Multi-Factor Authentication
Passwords may be all that your hackers need for a data breach. Multi-factor authentication serves as an additional security measure to protect your accounts by requiring proof that you own the account that you’re trying to access.
c) Don’t Forget to Secure Your WiFi
Hackers may gain access to your devices just by hacking into your WiFi network. To avoid this, you should change your WiFi’s default password into a unique password that doesn’t include any of your personal information.
4) Responsible Usage of Video Call Platforms
Aside from choosing the right platform to conduct video conferences, it’s also important to ensure that hackers don’t breach your devices through video call platforms.
a) Shield Your Webcam When Not in Use
If your device has a built-in webcam, investing in sliding webcam covers is recommended to protect yourself. This wouldn’t be a problem if your webcam is separate from your device as you could easily unplug it when not in use.
b) Make Sure Your Video Conferences Are Secure
Work-from-home setups involve relying on video conferencing applications, which increases the risk of cyber threats. Simply manage this threat by ensuring that the meetings are private (requires a password for entry) and software is updated.
5) Report Issues Immediately
If you still fall victim to cyber-attacks despite your attempts to protect and secure your devices and data, report issues to your company immediately. For personal financial information, you may also want to contact your bank or financial institution.
Trust Abacus for Optimal Security From Work-From-Home Cyber Threats
Working from home requires you to take note of multiple things to secure your data. Fortunately, you can count on us to help you have optimal security from cyber threats. When it comes to ensuring the safety and security of your sensitive information while you work from home, you can count on us.
Abacus offers a wide range of services perfect for your IT needs. For actionable advice on how to best secure your data and devices, talk to our team of experts on our website at https://goabacus.com/.