Cyber Security Risks working from home – Cyber Security is an essential activity today among many people using computers, which is everyone. This is the act of protecting computer systems and other networks from disclosing stored information, theft of the information, damages, disruption, or misdirection.
It is essential. Especially now, most people want their staff to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Various risks associated with cyber security call managers and other management teams to adopt better practices to curb these risks. This article gives you what you need; keep reading with me:
Why Cyber security risk has increased due to Work from Home
Coronavirus has led to a severe change in almost all the criminal activities that have been going on. However, it has also reduced the percentage of all physical crimes. Many criminals have noticed what is going on and are also trying their best to keep their dirty activities going by adopting new methods of stealing data and essential information.
Most organizations choose to make their employees work from home, which provides more flexibility and has helped the people who could commute to work. Everyone working in these companies today must notice how much the rate of cyber security risk has increased due to this idea of working from home. Some of the reasons include the following:
• Poor technological techniques and infrastructure
Organizations use the worst technological techniques and infrastructure with insufficient data and cyber security. Thus when employees of an organization are working from home, they easily expose their organizational data to these risks.
Anyone around them can easily access what they are doing, and you sometimes realize that unauthorized parties find it even easier to access your information.
• Few employees are aware of these fraudulent activities.
Data and statistics show that only a quarter of the total employees in an organization have noticed or received fraudulent and fake emails, phishing attempts, and spam since covid 19. Meaning that the organization still needs to educate their employees on cyber security and measures they should take to curb the issue whenever it happens because they are the main target in the first place.
• Fear of employees losing jobs
26% of given survey respondents showed that some employees tend to copy the sensitive and valuable information of the company they are working within if they lose their jobs. That is a considerable percentage that cannot be trusted with organizational data, meaning they should try to make their employees feel more secure about what they are doing.
• Failure to adopt and prioritize Information security
Many organizations have forgotten that these are the times cybercrimes are going high, and people want to use various organizations’ information to commit fraud. While this is happening, organizations have not yet put the safety of their valuable data first. This has enabled most cyber thieves and criminals to quickly get direct access to what they what whenever.
Top 17 cyber security risks of working from and how to protect against the risks
The increased rate of cyber security risks by hackers and other cybercriminals is easily noticed in every situation, especially where employees are made to work from home. These people are much focused on getting access to the most valuable information about your company, such as its weaknesses and strengths, that they might find a way of beating you in the industry. The following are 17 Cyber security risks that have resulted from working from home:
1. Personal devices
When employees are working in their normal office environment, they use devices that the IT department has designed specifically for the organization. These devices are cleaned and exclusively meant for work, and they are set with the highest security levels so that no one from the outside can get the information.
However, working from has made a more significant percentage of employees mix company devices and personal devices, that is, computers and smartphones, where you will realize that the personal devices are less secured than company devices leaving the organizational network open to attack and theft.
Moreover, some employees even go further to use company devices for their personal use, thus posing a significant risk to the company information.
This risk can be easily prevented by designing devices that can only be used for organizational functions. If someone tries to use it for other activities, it notifies the action organization to be taken.
2. Physical security
Once the company devices leave the office, theft is highly likely to happen; this is felt most when people tend to use the devices to work in public places such as hotels and coffee shops; however, from home, too, it can be very risky.
Imagine how much thieves will be attracted to your home when they see it is filled with computers, smartphones, tablets, routers, and other relevant electronic devices.
Employees tend to leave their work devices open on their desks, which can easily be stolen. Where the criminals can easily hack these devices, they steal and obtain the data they have been looking for to use against the organization.
This can be mitigated by ensuring that you do not leave your work devices in an open place; moreover, employees should choose a room in their house where no one can know what is going on and make them their work office.
3. Unsecured home network connections
Company networks are always secured, while most people’s Wi-Fi networks at home are less secure. You will find that most people have not set the required or strict security protocols for their routers; thus, unauthorized people can quickly access these networks and any other devices connected to them.
Moreover, some people do not even have these networks at home, so they will look for public connections. An iPass survey conducted in 2018 shows that 81% of public organizations have had an issue with security networks for the past twelve months, meaning it is not safe for you to use them.
Employees using their home networks for work activities should ensure that their networks are strict security protocols. You can contact the Wi-Fi company and let them know what you want so they can have it for you regarding how you can protect malicious devices and data activities.
4. Phishing attacks
This has become the route used by hackers for breaching company networks. The Verizon Data Breach Investigation Reports show that a third of company data breaches resulted from data phishing and ransomware. They sometimes come as emails or even text messages that severely affect them at home or in the office.
To prevent this from regularly happening, you should first ensure that your employees are aware of the most commonly used phishing techniques and then protect your devices in that they can quickly identify a phishing email or text message.
5. Inadequate security training
An analysis conducted by Willis Towers Watson shows that 505 plus data breaches result from employee negligence. This has made it easy for data thieves to quickly access company devices and acquire the necessary information.
The situation was even made worse when the coronavirus pandemic hit the world. Most workers now have to work from home with little or no knowledge of how they can protect organizational data.
Insufficient security training can be reduced by taking your employees into mandatory workshops to learn about the importance of protecting data and how they can do it safely.
6. Excessive use of online devices and tools
Now almost every organization relies on online tools for work to be done, which puts them at a higher risk of data theft. You must have realized that many tasks are done online, from attachments and emails to instant messages; tools such as zoom and hangouts are also used. This creates an open field for data thieves to easily hack your systems and get what they want.
An organization can reduce the use of online tools by sometimes letting the essential information be communicated using company tools and devices. Moreover, they can conduct physical meetings occasionally if the information seems to be more sensitive.
7. Failure of employees to spot scams
The most typical security risk of working from mostly comes from the employees sometimes, they are careless, tired, or do not have enough knowledge about this. You might find that an employee unintentionally gives a third party all the information or even allows them to get near their devices and corporate files.
A study conducted by the Human Resource Management society showed that 35% of all employees reported having less energy when working from home, and thus they can be easily scammed. Another confusing thing is that these cyber criminals develop new techniques to scam employees to access these data each day.
Employees need more training on identifying a scam even at their lowest, and they should be trained on how they can know the intentions of the person borrowing their devices or accessing their files. They need more knowledge of this.
8. Less staff security concerns
Although a company might use resources to educate their staff on cyber security issues, they sometimes lose sight of or forget all those concerns, especially when working from home. Most studies showed that when working from home, many employees are worried that they might lose their jobs or even the company becomes insolvent, thus forgetting what they are supposed to do.
This can be easily avoided if the organizations grant their employees job security, where they are assured that they will be in the organization permanently as long as it is still running unless otherwise. This will increase their concentration and work towards achieving the organizational goals and protecting valuable data.
9. Weak password
An organization might use VPNs, firewalls, and other security software, but if the employees use weak passwords, there is still a risk of data theft. Cybercriminals will not focus on cracking through this software; instead, they will put much of their focus on cracking the passwords and getting direct and more straightforward access to the data they want. Coding bots and password generators can easily crack any simple password as they can check accounts to see the repeated passwords.
Organizations should ensure that their employees set complicated passwords and that no one should share them with outside parties. They should be educated on the possible ways of creating solid account passwords that no one can easily break.
10. Sharing unencrypted files
The employees in an organization might share encrypted files; this means that a third party or unauthorized person can quickly get the information on these files. The company might think that the files are encrypted, but they are unaware of what happens when such information is passed to their clients.
Companies should adopt file encryption, especially when information is sent from one location to another. This will enable them to know where it is going and whether it is the right place so they can put the relevant measures.
This is malware that cybercriminals use to block the owner of information from accessing their data and devices. Hackers using this malware commonly threaten to use the information against you or even delete it if you do not meet their demands.
Usually, people do this because they intend to scam the victims for money or other favors. It can be spread through emails or even by downloading files sent by them on text messages or any other social media.
Employees should be educated on avoiding this trap by not downloading any files sent to them by strangers on their emails or social media. Moreover, they can set scam identification to be easily noticed when such files get to your device.
12. Data leakages
Data can easily leak to the public if the devices used by the employees are not well protected. This means that unauthorized parties can easily use the simplest ways to access your device and everything that happens there; they can even monitor what you are doing without your consent.
Use firewalls and antivirus programs to prevent such activities from going on as these can monitor the network traffic getting in for access and the left. Therefore, based on the security protocols set on the programs, they can decide whether they are suitable to be allowed or a threat that needs to be blocked.
Firewalls ensure that no malicious program gets to your device, thus blocking any form of data leakages. Most devices are built with firewalls; antivirus programs are an additional form of security you can install to be sure.
13. Weak security control measures
Most organizations have relaxed and are no longer focused on firewall rules or email policy. Remember, workers will work from home, meaning all the security measures you had in your organization will not be taken home, and if they do, they will be of the smallest percentage ever. Some workers tend to be arrogant and use unprotected devices for work activities, such as unsecured networks and unsafe devices.
This quickly puts the safety of the organization’s data at risk as hacking becomes simpler. Remember, when you use weak security control measures, the easier you are making it for cybercriminals to access your information without much struggle.
14. Cyber-attacks on working from home infrastructure
Now that your employees are used to the office environment with all its safety, it will be hard to operate in a whole new home infrastructure. As mentioned earlier, these cybercriminals are coming up with new techniques of manipulating data from your company, so if you sleep on your ears, they are likely to do you dirty the most.
Therefore, by deploying an Endpoint Detection and Response solution, you can protect your computers from malware and other cyber-attacks to reduce attacks on information from home or away from the office environment.
Changing your techniques with the change of environment will guarantee you safety as long as you need it. A change in the environment should be accompanied by different measures based on how you interact within your homework environment.
15. Threats everywhere
Today there have been threats everywhere, you find that you might be in the worst situation, but still, there are people who want to kick you completely and pull you down. Sometimes an organization has installed the best security control and adopted the highest measures. Still, some people choose to deactivate them or even destroy them to allow other parties to access the information.
The people we live with can be the greatest threat; this sounds awkward but waits until it happens to you; you might be thinking you are living with the best, but they are taking advantage of you.
Employees should be careful when anyone is around them and work towards ensuring that no one, not even the people they trust the most, can access the information. This shows that employees need to be educated more on how they should safely work from home without putting anything at risk.
In addition, private discussions and other meetings that require the employees and management to discuss valuable matters of the organization should be conducted in a safer environment or even physically.
16. Newer cyber security threats
You might have educated your staff or employees about the most common and possible cyber security threats they are likely to encounter and how they can deal with them. However, you forget that these cybercriminals are also on their toes; they are working day and night to develop new techniques they can use without being identified.
Most of your employees might not be aware of this, and these new threats are becoming less noticeable in that one can do something in good faith, and it turns out that it was the through pass to accessing complete information of the company.
Keep your employees informed about any new security threat your IT team might learn. You also need to pressure your IT team to research and know every new security threat and how they can prevent it from affecting their employees.
Once the team knows what it is, it can be easy to pass it to your employees working from home and keep them constantly updated on every measure they need to take to avoid falling into such traps.
17. Cyber-attacks have always been there, and they will be there.
It is important to note that cyber-attacks have been there; they are there and will always be there. Therefore, any organization having their employees work from home should be ready to fight these, it might not be an easy task, but if they consider the proper measures and trends, they might get it right.
Therefore, as the employees are the ones to be blamed in most cases, the organization should also take responsibility for such things.
More cyber criminals are becoming creative and coming up with newer techniques to steal data, and the organization should be well prepared to fight back. They should adopt the best and most updated cyber security measures to ensure that the most valuable information is safe. Thus, no person can know what is going on in the organization.
Cyber security is an essential topic that should be well discussed and given attention. Remember, once the information about your company operations leaks, you will have minimal chances of making it beyond your competitors. Data stolen can be sued in many negative ways; among them is an unauthorized publication to put your company in shame, scamming, or even bringing down the company. Working from home is a good idea as it ensures that the organization’s operations continue even with the pandemic. However, ensure that your employees are educated, and you can be confident in what you give them.