Working remotely has been the biggest challenge for many organizations soon after the Covid-19 took over the world. The work from home shift was one of the most surprising events that occurred worldwide simultaneously. The whole thing was unprecedented and sudden; therefore, it left inevitable yet uncontrollable effects.
Employees were obliged to continue working from home networks. Since home networks are less-secured compared to organizational networks, therefore, hackers found this as an opportunity for exploitation.
Many organizations worldwide experienced severe cybersecurity risks due to emerging network vulnerabilities. The potential reason for such cybersecurity collapses was inadequate technologies and network security.
How Remote Working Increased Organization’s Cybersecurity Risks?
The newly remote transformation was hard to manage; both employers and employees struggled to keep sensitive business information in check. However, hackers were out to steal data, and attacks were sophisticated enough to trap innocent home-network users.
According to a survey conducted by iProVPN, 48% of the US remote workers responded that they had been attacked by phishing emails, calls, and texts during their initial six months of remote working. The number of phishing attacks was even higher in other countries like the UK, France, and Australia.
Phishing attacks were on the peak during the Coronavirus remote work transition. Such phishing scams were quite sophisticated and carefully designed. Hackers targeted various employees with malicious links carefully implanted in emails.
Upon clicking, remote workers unintentionally install keylogging software on their devices that ultimately expose credentials to the hacker.
The whole practice masked the hacker as a legitimate employee who later accesses and captures crucial business data and assets.
Phishing attacks were not the only cybersecurity risk increasingly emerging globally. Other scams like password sharing were also noticeably disrupting the business’s online security.
Many remote workers had openly shared passwords using a public network to execute certain business tasks. The password-sharing practice was higher in countries like France and Australia.
Sharing passwords on an unsecured network exposes credentials to hackers, and they get unauthorized access to the business network.
Unfortunately, during the remote work shift, many devices were not password protected. Besides that, workers were using the same passwords without updating or changing them. Many cybersecurity experts suggest keeping changing passwords every six months.
Is There Any Other Remote Work Pitfall That Leads to Cybersecurity Failure?
Besides phishing attacks and password sharing practices on unsecured networks, another factor contributing to the cybersecurity failure was the use of personal devices.
The remote work shift was sudden, and no organization supplied official devices to the workers. Consequently, employees started working from their personal devices, and that was a big setback.
Employees were using personal devices for completing their official tasks. On the same devices, workers checked their emails and did online shopping. Those devices were unsecured and exposed to intruders.
Moreover, the remote work shift was an overnight switch; therefore, no company supplied secured devices to the works. Also, businesses had to overlook security access that resulted in unsecured technical access to the business network.
How to Maintain Cybersecurity for Remote Workers?
Undoubtedly, many people enjoy remote work as it gives you the freedom to work and helps to balance personal and work life. However, due to the home network vulnerabilities, remote work comes with great cybersecurity risks.
With time, cybersecurity experts and organizations have thoroughly researched various ways to eliminate security risks.
Also, after experiencing various hacking and data breach attacks, companies reconsidered their cybersecurity infrastructure and came back with a robust security plan to ensure security for remote work.
If your company is planning to continue remote work for a larger employee base, make sure to manage your employees and IT department to combat network infrastructure issues.
Here I am outlining a few recommendations that will help you to maintain your company’s cybersecurity realm:
1. Make Antivirus Software Mandatory
Ensure all your employees are using updated antivirus software. It will help workers to get through all kinds of potential online threats. Antivirus software is the first-line-of defense that identifies and blocks known malware.
2. Maintain Cloud Backup
Remote workers may fall victim to ransomware attacks. Such attacks block access to crucial data and restore access only if it’s paid. Companies must maintain a cloud backup where every essential document should be saved securely to avoid such situations.
3. Enable Firewalls
Companies must instruct their employees to enable their device’s firewalls option. The firewalls are designed to prevent threats from accessing the company’s network. Moreover, firewalls form a shield between the device and the internet by closing the ports for communication.
4. Connect a VPN
A VPN is a must-have tool for remote employees. VPNs are popular for combating geo-restrictions on various streaming sites. However, a VPN has another crucial role, and that’s to manage online security. A VPN creates a secure and encrypted tunnel that routes users’ traffic and makes it impossible for hackers to read or access it. Make sure that your remote employees are always connected to a trusted VPN while accessing the company network remotely.
5. Change Home Router Password
Online users often forget to change the password for home routers and keep using the same built-in password. It may increase data exploitation; therefore, it’s important to protect the home network by changing the default home router password. It will prevent hackers from accessing connected devices via malware.
Companies from around the world are adopting remote work strategies due to the convenience and time-saving capabilities. However, if not implemented correctly, then remote work could be a curse for your business. It’s great to continue working from home with the listed cybersecurity tips and enjoy a safe, secure and responsible work environment.