Covid-19 and remote work is leading to an unprecedented increase in cyber-attacks. A new study from VMWare shows that most businesses have seen an uptick in cyber-attacks since the pandemic took over the world. Remote work brings additional cybersecurity challenges as employees log on through their home networks or with personal devices that might not be as secure as office environments. Cybercriminals tend to be one step ahead and are also targeting the cloud, which most organizations are relying on to help facilitate remote work during the pandemic.
We gathered cybersecurity tips from different studies and from our experts to help you with the challenges of keeping your work devices cyber secure and protected.
Source of Vulnerability
Human error is the most common cause of information security breaches, with 80 percent of individuals believing that human error is caused by a lack of security knowledge, training, and failure to follow security procedures.
Most of the problems occur when someone opens a suspicious link or connects an infected device to the company's network or their own network. Training end-users is the best way to keep your company protected and empower employees to recognize an attack attempt.
Basic Cybersecurity Check List
The list below provides some tips from our New Horizons Ireland experts to help recognise the possible threats before issues occur.
- PIN’s and passwords should be changed regularly.
- Be careful about the passwords. Do not make them too easy, but also not so difficult that you cannot remember it. Password managers can help you with the task of keeping and generate them.
- Do not use the same password for everything.
- Do not share your password. Change it if you believe it has been compromised.
- Be careful using USB flash drives from external sources.
- Be cautious about personal and confidential information on your computer and mobile phones. If you lose it or someone takes it, how can your personal information be affected?
- Set your device to lock after a brief period of time and set it to require authentication to unlock.
- Be careful about email or texts with external links from your bank or any other institution similar, Microsoft, for example. Fake emails can look real. Check for the sender’s email, typos, and links reverting to websites that are from the company.
- Try to keep all your work devices up to date with the latest software and the requirements of your company. This ensures your device software is not left vulnerable to the latest threats.
- Free software is frequently an open door to other dangerous files. Before downloading it, read carefully about what comes together with the software.
- Keep an antivirus solution updated on your computer, even the free ones are better than nothing.
- Backup everything such as, computer, smartphones, tablets in a way that will be easy to recover them.
Keep Your Devices Safe
Check if all our devices are updated. You should check the latest operating system updates, software, and antivirus.
Use effective access controls (such as multi-factor authentication and strong passwords), and, where available, encryption to restrict access to the device, and to reduce the risk, in case it is stolen or misplaced.
When connecting your work computer to your home network, make sure you do not make it visible to other computers in the network and check if the option to share files is off.
Data-Sharing Through the Internet
Work from home interactions is increasingly dependent on Internet connectivity. This is a huge risk since public Internets are insecure and often full of malicious actors. The connection used may contain several flaws that can be compromised to allow a cybercriminal to intercept every piece of data transmitted through the wide-area network.
Be careful when sharing sensitive data from your company or clients.
If you are sharing files with external’s recipients, make sure to use a platform you can trust. Check with the recipient which ones they can access from their work device, most companies have security policies for it.
Follow any applicable policies in your organisation around the use of email and ensure that you comply with them.
Use work email accounts rather than personal ones for work-related emails involving personal and sensitive data. If you use your personal email, make sure that content and attachments are encrypted.
Do not write personal or confidential data on the subject lines of your emails.
Double-check you are sending your email to the correct recipient, mainly if it contains personal or sensitive data.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
As humans, we tend to easily forget cautious steps once the risk is over, but when is related to cybersecurity we need to be constantly aware that cybercriminals are always one step ahead of us. Check below some of the best practices that can help you.
Be extra vigilant with phishing emails. There will be many going around trying to capitalize on fear related to the coronavirus, questions about isolation and its psychological impacts, or even pretending to offer advice or health information. Scan those emails with a sharp eye and do not open attachments unless they are from a known, trusted source.
Related to phishing, be aware of the rising in Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud. Your organization may be sending you many emails and missives about new workflows, processes, or reassurances to employees. Watch out for those disguising themselves as high-ranking employees and pay close attention to the actual email address of senders.
Cloud and Network Access
When it is possible to use only your organisation’s trusted cloud and network services. Make sure to comply with your companies’ rules and best practices for cloud and network access, login, and data sharing.
Many people do not change their home router password when it is first installed, leaving their home network vulnerable. It is important for employees to take simple steps to protect their home network in order to prevent malicious parties from having access to connected devices.
In case you are working without cloud or network access, ensure any locally stored data is adequately backed up in a secure manner.
*Sources for the above article:
Cybersecurity Training Options at New Horizons Ireland
Here at New Horizons Ireland, we have experienced Instructors running classroom training in our locations in Ireland. We also have online and part-time options for those who find it tricky to get out to study during office hours. Talk to one of our Account Managers to find out the best Cybersecurity path for your career needs.
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Cybersecurity Training at New Horizons Ireland