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THE GREAT THREAT IN REMOTE WORKING: CYBER ATTACKS

THE GREAT THREAT IN REMOTE WORKING: CYBER ATTACKS
19 March 2023 Phishup Editor

Remote work is a form of work in which the individual working within the scope of the work organization created by the employer performs the act of working outside the workplace with various technological tools.

With the technological advances in the internet age we live in, there are millions of employees who use this way of working. However, this type of study has advantages as well as disadvantages. One of them is Cyber-attacks, which should be considered when logging into corporate networks remotely.

While employees try to stay in touch with their colleagues by using chat apps, shared documents, and conference calls instead of physical meetings, many may not be sufficiently alert to the risk of cyberattacks. Moreover, these initiatives are also unprepared at the infrastructure, policy and cultural level. For example, only 38% of businesses have a cybersecurity policy in place, and 33% of this segment do not have any policies regarding remote work.

This creates a situation where these new remote organizations have an easier attack opportunity because of the new network scenarios that remote work generates. For example, nearly 25% of organizations report that their cyberattack attempts have doubled. In addition, malicious email attacks targeting remote workers increased 400%.

The use of many technological products in remote working models also increases the number of measures to be taken. Crisis planning needs to be well designed in order to protect the data of companies that meet most of the scope at risk in remote working models. Crisis planning should be experienced practically before, not during, the crisis, and the fact that employees benefit from these experiences also shows that companies’ data can be protected in a healthier way.

Failure to pay attention to security risks in remote working models causes employees not only to risk their own privacy, but also to violate the security of the companies they work for. Failure to protect confidentiality and breach of security threatens information security in remote working models. Assuming that the necessary security measures have been taken in the office environment, information security breaches become more difficult as individuals work between the created security layers, and it shows that the precautions not taken individually will increase these risks and possible breaches will become easier.

1) SECURITY RISKS THAT MAY OCCUR WITH REMOTE WORKING

There are many digital risks that may occur when implementing remote working models. These risks threaten the working individuals and therefore the companies where the individual works. A few of these risks, which are important in the field of cyber security, are given below:

1.1) Personal Devices Used

The technological products (computer, mobile phone, etc.) that the employee will use for remote connection must be protected against risky software. It should not be used for personal needs while using the computer or mobile phone included in the company network. Opening pop-up screens that open and close in seconds on any website you access from your computer, which may not attract your attention, can install malicious software on your computer in the background. Accessing your mobile phone using social media tools also carries a risk in terms of information security.

In addition, approximately 46% of employees transfer files between work and personal computers while working from home. At the same time, there is a tendency in companies to allow employees to use their personal devices at work.

It is necessary to be fully aware of the problems caused by employees using their personal devices for work-related matters. For example, they may not be keeping their software up to date, which leads to security vulnerabilities in your environment. As a result, employees should not be allowed to use their personal devices while they work, as it will be difficult for you to control what is happening on their endpoints.

1.2) Inadequate Cyber security Tools

Most enterprise cybersecurity tools are built for a specific use case. This use case is people going to the office where there is a high level of control over the corporate network and the types of devices that can be brought in. Allowing work from home drastically changes this use case, which comes with many risks.

The most important of these risks is the (insecure) expansion of the corporate network with working home networks. This is a major issue because instead of having defined network boundaries and secure entry points, the corporate network is now subject to the security level of the employee’s home network.

1.3) Accessing Important Data over Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

In order to ensure social isolation, working as part of the company network in public Wi-Fi areas (parks, municipal services, etc.) where unconscious employees who do not have an internet connection in the working environment are not sure of their safety, unlike individuals who work with an internet connection in the working environment, carries a great risk in terms of data isolation.

It means that the employees and the company present their information to the attacker as a result of listening to the network of the attackers connecting to the public Wi-Fi networks. The IP address of your computer, which is included in this information, may be a ‘simple’ information; but it is the biggest step towards the beginning of the whole disaster. In this way, malicious people nearby can easily spy on their connections and collect confidential information. For example, data sent in plain text unencrypted can be intercepted and stolen by cybercriminals. Therefore, your employees should not be allowed to access unknown Wi-Fi networks unless they are using a VPN connection.

1.4) Using Weak Passwords

Cybercriminals realize that exploiting human error is easier than trying to circumvent an advanced security solution, so they try to crack account passwords to gain access to private company data.

Hackers use various measures to crack passwords. For example, they compile lists of frequently used passwords that can be used to easily access poorly protected accounts.

Duplicate passwords are another usual, unsafe operation used by cybercriminals. When they crack an account’s password, they will try to access other accounts with the same password. Employees who repeat passwords, especially on personal and business accounts, are at higher risk of becoming victims of cyberattacks.

1.5) Email Scam

When companies suddenly or temporarily switch to remote work, employees can be confused about how to continue working safely. The most important cyber threat to remote workers is phishing strategies. Remote employees can become the biggest threat to the security of the corporate network. Employees can be people who unknowingly give threat actors access to the company network and company private information.

Phishing schemes involve an individual or organization masquerading as a legitimate source, often via email, to trick the victim into providing special login credentials or privileged information; this can then be used to hack into accounts, steal more confidential information, commit identity fraud and more.

Phishing emails have become so sophisticated that it is increasingly difficult for employees to spot them, especially when phishing emails pass through email filters and arrive directly in an employee’s inbox.

In our next article, we will be explaining the precautions to be taken against risks.

Have a nice day.