Security Threats Increase as Cybercriminals Target Remote Working

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Uncategorized

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With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to sweep across the nation, thousands of businesses have adopted a remote working landscape. While advancements in technology allowed for remote working before the pandemic, many businesses still operated within the confines of an office building. However, as the need for social distancing became apparent, businesses were forced to change their practices. While companies and organizations across the country were scrambling to make their businesses operate digitally, they became less focused on implementing proper security measures. That’s when cybercriminals snuck in and began preying on these vulnerabilities. Under normal circumstances, companies would have had time to prepare and properly secure their remote workforce but unfortunately the pandemic caught everyone off guard and forced companies to restructure their workforce immediately. While remote working is necessary in order to keep workers and organizations productive, new security measures must be taken to protect employees and businesses from cyber attacks. Here are some of the most common security threats facing this remote landscape.

Email Scams

In order for employees to perform their tasks effectively at home, they often need to download new software and tools. Unfortunately, this opens the door for cybercriminals to scam employees. It’s common for employees to receive an email asking for a password or unique code in order to verify their new system. Employees who are anxious to get to work might give these details unknowingly. While this type of request can sometimes be legitimate, it is advised to always be cautious before giving out any classified information. 

Malware and Phishing

A vast number of cyber attacks are caused by human error. More and more people are preoccupied these days with personal or financial stress at home, which makes them more vulnerable to phishing lures. As people become increasingly concerned with the ongoing pandemic, links to information on the coronavirus or updates from the World Health Organization are very alluring. In addition, cyber attackers are sending fake Zoom links claiming that the employee is late for an urgent meeting. With Zoom, Skype, and other online meeting platforms becoming so popular, it’s easy to see why this is a quick and easy way to lure an unassuming employee. Once an employee clicks on the link, the hacker is able to gain access to the employee’s device. 

Fake Login Screens

In order to work from home, employees now have new procedures to follow in order to log in to their network. This has made it easy for hackers to trick employees with a fake login screen. Since these new security programs are new for so many people, they may not realize that the login screen is suspicious and unknowingly fill in their details. Once they do this, the hacker can impersonate the employee and gain access to company information, data, and systems. 

VPN Attacks

As companies continue to transition to a remote landscape, many have changed their security measures to allow easier access for employees from home. Unfortunately, when they deactivate restrictions on the VPN connectivity, it makes it even easier for hackers to attack and infiltrate the network. 

Although some security measures have been taken to adapt to the current working situation, there are undoubtedly new threats that go along with working from home. It is far more difficult to adequately protect a remote landscape, given that users are working across a variety of software applications, tools, and applications. This had led to heightened vulnerability for businesses and organizations across the country. 

In an office environment, networks typically come with firewalls and other security tools that help mitigate the risk of data breaches. However, many remote workers are often connected to unsecured Wi-fi networks which makes them more vulnerable to security threats. Furthermore, most employees are not adequately trained on cybersecurity, which increases the likelihood that they might fall victim to an attack. Combine that with the possibility of untrustworthy employees or roommates and you have a recipe for disaster. 

Despite the definite risks, remote working is on the rise and is the future for many businesses. For this reason, it is more important than ever to rework security systems in order to adapt to this new landscape. Businesses and organizations need to invest in technology and defense systems that will protect them as the country shifts to a remote workforce.