The novel coronavirus outbreak dramatically changes the daily habits of millions of people around the world. As a result of that, working from home has grown in popularity for not only tech workers but also other professionals in every industry. Google recommended that (March) employees from Europe and the Middle East work from home until further notice. Maybe you find working from home productive, or maybe it is difficult for you to make office hours for yourself and to stick to them. Either way, you don’t want to sacrifice the security of your personal device and information. In that sense, you have to take a minute to think of ways to stay cyber secure while working from home.
Cybercriminals leverage the fear connected with the growing Coronavirus pandemic as a tool to spread “infections”. They attempt to gain the trust of victims through various techniques. For example, they use the branding of trusted organizations, like the World Health Organization, to execute their attacks.
They build some credibility first and get users to open attachments or click on the link. Both companies and employees must give utmost attention to this matter to protect confidential information and stay safe online. It is obvious that cybercriminals love crisis because it gives them an opportunity to cause massive damage. Whatever the attack they launch, the consequences can be destructive. Given these circumstances, Swiss Cyber Forum’s general recommendations are:
Tips for employees to stay cyber secure:
- Don’t skip software updates. Sometimes you’re too busy to update your software. You think you’ll do it later, but you hardly do. This is a big mistake because it invites hackers to steal your personal information. Keep your software up-to-date to stay secure, and it will protect you from cyber threats;
- Be on alert for phishing attacks. Basically, these attacks are fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source. Criminals use these attacks to get people to click on the link or download some attachment. The growth of phishing attacks put both employees and companies under a serious threat. They launch thousands of phishing attacks every day. If you want to remain safe online, think twice before you click on anything;
- Avoid accessing sensitive data from a public Wi-Fi network (if you are away from home). Starbucks’ security breach that took place in Argentina in 2018 is a relevant example of the security risks of public Wi-Fi. The lesson to learn here is that it is a good idea to download a VPN application to the device, which practically ensures that all the data is being transmitted through the network is fully encrypted. Digital security is important, so pay attention to this simple tip to stay cyber secure.
Tips for employers:
- Provide tutorials or written guides for employees on how to access systems remotely. As a matter of fact, your employees are on the front lines of information security. It must be your responsibility to make your employees aware of various forms of cybersecurity threats. As a result of that, they can stay cyber secure, and know which procedure to follow in case a threat is detected.
- Remind your employees that the confidentiality policies remain in effect. It means that any work material shouldn’t be saved to personal devices. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in organizations, and it can create serious problems. For instance, unauthorized data transfer can result in a loss of competitive advantage. Thus, organisations must establish privacy policies to manage their data assets;
- Use portals to set up remote access. The advantage of this method is that the corporate information that is on the portal’s server cannot be downloaded without permission. Shortly, the more access your employee has, the less secure the connection is.
These steps don’t guarantee that any remote work plans will be bullet-proof. But with a combination of technology and employee know-how, you can make working from home as secure as working from your office. This is a target-rich environment, thus it is advisable to be suspicious of any unsolicited email that mentions anything about the coronavirus outbreak and requests for personal data. Above all, working from home is not complicated as long as you pay attention to enhancing security.
Coronavirus outbreak is a global concern but we shouldn’t let it turn into a security gap. Increasing security is an important step for employers and employees to promote efficiency in a remote work environment and eventually stay cyber secure. We hope you find Swiss Cyber Forum’s recommendations useful. Stay safe and be careful out there.