In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are adopting work-from-home strategies so it is a given that cybersecurity is a trending issue.
To target individuals and companies, cybercriminals are searching for opportunities to exploit coronavirus.
Below are some ways in which businesses and employees can protect themselves online.
Working from home is the new Normal
As the world is trying to cope with the deadly COVID-19 and trying to find solutions to stop the spread of this pandemic, many of the common mass is trying to settle into a routine of work from home environment. Many problems can arise from this including how to balance different priorities like childcare and healthcare, how to maintain focus, and how to be resiliently productive without convenient tools or decided office space.
There are many deals to be done for a major part of these challenges in what will be a short-term arrangement. Security is something that should not be compromised.
A win-win Situation for Cybercriminals
Many cybercriminals are keeping a keen eye out for the employees’ thirst for information to prepare for an attack. The most common cyber attacks include the attackers sending COVID-19 themed phony emails that are purposefully created to deliver official information to the virus. This is done so that people can be lured into these malicious links that install (RATs) Remote Administration Tools on their devices.
There have also been reports of malicious COVID-19 related apps that provide access to the mobile data or encrypt devices for the ransom of the attacker. More than 100,000 new COVID-19 web domains are created due to the pandemic that should be handled with suspicion even if they may not be malicious.
Other ways that attackers are attacking people are taking advantage of the poor security of the employees that are working from home as they do not have the same kind of security that is incorporated in a corporate environment. It is also because enterprises haven’t implemented the right corporate security strategies or technologies that ensure all corporate-managed or corporate-owned devices have the same security issues regardless of whether they are on an open home WiFi network or connected to the company’s network.
Some responsibilities need to be shared between both, the business leaders as well as the individual employees to make sure that cyber attacks seldom happen and do not disrupt the work environment.
How businesses can respond
The business leaders in a time like this have taken the initiative of heightening the responsibilities to set certain expectations. They are focusing how their organization’s employees are managing security risks in the work environments, empowering their employees, and leveraging new technologies and policies. These messages must be released from the top of the organization and prominent examples must be set from the start.
Below are some recommendations from the business leaders.
1. Track the threats to your business
As a result of more employees working from home, business leaders must recognize potential vector attacks and safeguard the protection of their most valuable and sensitive information as well as business-sensitive applications.
2. Deliver true guidance and boost communication
Homeworking strategies are convenient and easy to follow that encourage employees to build a secure home working environment. This must contain a good interaction between employees with internal security teams about any malicious activities.
3. Offer the perfect security tools
Leaders should make sure that all the corporately managed devices are supplied with necessary security capabilities that exist with the same network security in the enterprise-level security measures to all the remote environments.
Some of these capabilities include:
- The system to safely and easily connect users to their business-specific cloud and on-premise applications like teleconferencing apps that are becoming even more relevant for remote work environments.
- The ability to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA).
- The ability to blacklist malware, exploits, and command-and-control (C2) traffic via real-time, automated threat intelligence.
- All laptops and mobile devices must feature endpoint protection including VPN tools with encryption.
- The ability to perform DNS sinkholing to combat common phishing attacks and filter malicious domain URLs.
How individuals can respond
Individual must be able to follow the points and guidance that are instilled in them by organizations that take control measures.
1. Develop better password practice
Employees must utilize complicated passwords and multifactor authentication wherever possible and change them occasionally.
2. Encrypt your WiFi access point
Frequent changes must be implied by people with their default settings and passwords to lower the potential attack impact on their work of an outside attack via connected devices.
3. Update software and tools
On time, individuals must install patches and updates in the mobile devices and other unique non-corporate devices that they may use for work.
4. Deploy a virtual private network (VPN)
There can be built a trusted connection between employees and their organizations and make sure the access is ongoing to corporate tools. They also provide additional protection against phishing and malware attacks in the same way as the corporate firewalls function in the office.
5. Avoid BYOD policies
BYOD is all about Bring Your Own Device, which is a practice of permitting employees to use their personal devices at work. But using personal devices as their work devices can be threatening. Avoid this concept for time being. Keep your personal and office devices separate. In case you are not using any service or tool at the office, don’t use it at home on your work device.
Be aware of COVID-19 lures
You would notice phishing e-mails, fake apps, malicious website floated out in the wild already. Exploiting the real-world tragedies is the right target for threat actors and COVID-19 is no exception.
Taking the above-listed effective steps at both at business and individual level can help you stay secure and avoid the most common security threats. This threat condition is not static. Hence, it is necessary to keep a check on evolving threats to avoid unwanted additional expenses and disruptions in the least affordable time of today.