COVID 19 and security issues faced by people working online

As the threat of the novel COVID 19 continues to persist; organizations all over the world are rapidly embracing the “work from home” culture as the new normal and even urging their employees to adopt it as a mindset.  However, remote work has brought forth it’s own set of unique challenges pertaining to cyber-security.

Cybercriminals have ramped up their efforts to take advantage of inadequate security measures of the employees and businesses functioning remotely. The rapid and sudden transition from enterprise to unsecure home WI-FI networks has created a new opportunity for the cybercriminals.

Lets take a look at the most pressing security related issues arising out of the current situation of people working online:

1- Email Phishing

Attackers have taken advantage of the fear and paranoia of the people working from home to launch newer email phishing campaigns. People working from home end up opening links and attachments without verification and due diligence.  The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued a warning to the people working online to stay on high alert with respect to COVID 19 scams. The scammers might send emails tricking the recipients to donate to fraudulent charities or reveal critically sensitive information.

2- Malicious Applications

Employees may end up downloading malicious apps or software containing viruses and malware in the absence of security protocols.

3- Employees not following Policies

The enabling of remote work leads to the employees becoming lax in their adherence to the policies pertaining to data security, infrastructure and protection of computer systems’ integrity. Such a situation can present a considerable challenge to the IT security teams that aren’t physically present to enforce the regulations.

4- Lack of Standardized Systems

In a corporate environment usually, the business devices are standardized – the same model and software. However, different employees on different operating systems and devices add on the extra effort of the IT department of reconciling the difference of requirements. This bottleneck enhances the vulnerability of the remote systems established for working remotely.

5- Usage of Personal Devices

Another huge risk associated with remote work is the usage of personal devices by the employees to transfer the critical company data and documents. Employees may depend on personal and rather unsecure devices instead of the company issued one for file transfer and other tasks. The usage of personal devices instead of the official ones; enhances the risk of a data breach ten fold.

Preventing the Vulnerabilities Arising Out Of People Working Online

Even though, remote work has quickly become the need of the hour due to lockdowns and enforcement of social distancing measures, the threats can be mitigated by taking appropriate measures.

Here are some of the measures that can be taken in this regard:

1- Buying a VPN service to encrypt the incoming and outgoing data. It may also help unblock streaming services, like Amazon prime video.

2- Deploying a firewall that works across all employee devices

3- Planning and developing SOPs for contingencies and crisis scenarios

4- Securing all remotely connected networks

These four are just some of the many measures that must be undertaken to ensure the maximum security for everyone working online

Wrapping it Up

Here, you have it! Five of the biggest challenges that both employees and businesses are facing with remote workforces. However, even the most critical issues have viable solutions. Now, that you know what the issues are; you can better prepare to solve them and get ahead of the cyber-criminals. But, before you do so, download a Chrome VPN extension to stay safe in the meantime.

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