The coronavirus pandemic has left many Australians with no option but to lock down and for those who can, to work from home.
Major tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and a host of small other businesses are all allowing their employees to work from home during these unprecedented times. Many employees will utilize company devices and data from home in this moment of uncertainty with no timeline as to when the pandemic will end, permitting employees to return to work.
So, we thought we would provide some Cybersecurity tips for your business and remote workers… you are welcome!
While the global focus is on finding a solution to this pandemic that has shaken the economic pillars of the world; life has to go on, work has to be done, and effective security measures have to be observed where needed. Employees pushed to work from home due to the current crisis have to get their work done effectively from their homes and still protect company data from unauthorized access. There are cyber criminals who will not miss an opportunity to exploit data and hardware device security vulnerabilities presented by the masses of remote workers. How then do companies and remote workers protect company data from cyber-attacks?
Ethical or white-hat hacking is the act of legal penetration testing done by a cybersecurity experts on companies information systems to detect vulnerabilities and offer solutions. As employees work from home, potentially exposing company data to the ‘wrong people,’ companies should hire ethical hackers to check for potential security threats. This gives companies a better understanding of their security vulnerability and how best they can implement more stringent defense measures to prevent breaches.
Malware / Ransomware Protection
Malware is malicious software that uses backdoor tactics to allow the attacker to gain control of the infected computer or system. Ransomware is malware in which the attacker demands a ransom to be paid to give control of the computer or system back to the rightful owners. Blackhat hacking group is currently on a rampage where it attacks companies and demands a ransom paid. If no payment is made, the hackers release small amounts of data to force the victims to pay.
Remote employees can protect themselves against ransomware by informing company security experts if they are moving or using a different computer than the one provided to them,. Avoid using open public Wi-Fis in public places and do not opening suspicious emails or attachments. Ensure that all systems use updated software, and reputable antivirus software or firewalls.
Use of VPNs
A VPN (virtual private network) is a program that allows people or organizations to safely connect to a computer when they are using a less secure network. Employees who connect to the internet using public Wi-Fi networks risk browsing history being seen by third-parties. Using a VPN offers privacy and hides browsing history, hence protecting company data from being seen by unauthorized personnel.
Companies should encourage their remote workers to use cloud-based services authorized by security experts to store data. This prevents data loss in case the computer malfunctions or is stolen.
Educate Your Employees
Companies should teach their employees the basics of security concepts such as phishing emails, ransomware, malware, antivirus software, to avoid using public Wi-Fi and other basic measures.
To take a proactive approach, emergency response teams should be on call when something goes wrong.
Use of Strong Passwords
When working remotely, you should use strong passwords to minimize the chances of being hacked. There are many online password generators that individuals can turn to create strong passwords consisting of upper case and lower case letter, numbers, and symbols. The passwords need to be changed periodically to reduce the probability of being hacked.
These are unprecedented times in which both people, businesses and governments are still navigating their way around the pandemic. It is through these times that criminals exploit those who aren’t prepared. Educate employees and be prepared.