Remote work and distributed workforce have gained so much popularity in the last years. Of course, the reason behind that is the coronavirus outbreak. Even though it affected our lives badly, it also showed everyone that remote work is possible and most of the time it is better. Not just for employees but also for employers. It increased creativity and the quality of the work while reducing the cost for companies.
However, remote work brought some threats with it. As a result of widespread remote work models, cyber attacks and cyber threats began to be seen more often than ever. But what are those threats or does remote work have vulnerabilities? In this article, we will look at possible threats remote work may bring and the vulnerabilities it has. Let’s get started.
Vulnerabilities of Remote Work
The reason behind vulnerabilities remote work brings is sometimes lack of training in cybersecurity companies should provide, and sometimes lack of cautiousness employer should give. However, reducing the number of vulnerabilities is in your hands with proper training. Furthermore, you can reduce the blast radius of cyberattacks when you are well aware of the vulnerabilities.
1. Accessing Sensitive Data Through Unsafe Wi-Fi Networks
When an employee connects to their personal wireless or utilizes unsecured public Wi-Fi to access their company accounts, bad actors in the vicinity may simply eavesdrop on their connection and capture sensitive data.
For example, material transferred in plain text without encryption might be intercepted and stolen by thieves. As a result, unless your employees are utilizing a VPN connection, they should not be permitted to connect to any unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks.
2. Weak Passwords
Human error occurs when employees attempt to secure their accounts with weak passwords, even if a firm employs VPNs, firewalls, and other cybersecurity measures to keep your remote network safe.
Human mistake is easier to exploit than trying to get past a complex security solution, which is why cybercriminals will try to crack account passwords in order to gain access to sensitive corporate data.
Repeating passwords is another common unsafe practice used by cybercriminals. Once they've cracked one account's password, they'll try to access additional accounts using the same password. Employees who reuse passwords, especially across personal and professional accounts, are more likely to be victims of a cyberattack. You can also check NordLayer’s article (https://nordlayer.com/blog/working-from-home-security-best-practices/) to learn remote work security best practices.
3. Working with Personal Devices
Employees download numerous sorts of information and files, such as PDFs and programs, to their own devices. If an employee fails to discern between important company data and data utilized for personal gain, security may be compromised.
An employee, for example, may download a game to their smartphone that has a hidden virus or spyware. When the employee next signs in from the infected device, the virus might be transmitted onto the workplace network. Strict use limits can help reduce the danger of malware invading business networks.
If you allow your employees to use their own devices without supervision, it's possible that some of the personal applications they use won't meet your security standards. If a personal account is hacked, company data and private information might be exposed.
Remote Work Threats To Businesses
Now that we briefly explained the vulnerabilities of remote work, we may now talk about the threats it brings. As a result of remote work models, a variety of cyber security issues appear. Companies should always consider the worst when it comes to cyber security issues to keep their confidential data safe and network secure all the time. So, here are the threats remote work can bring.
1. Phishing Attacks
Phishing schemes involve a person or entity impersonating a legitimate source, typically via email, in order to trick a victim into providing private login credentials or privileged information, which can then be used to access sensitive data, steal more confidential information, commit identity theft, etc.
Phishing emails have advanced to the point that it is becoming increasingly difficult for employees to detect them, especially when they get past email filters and into an employee's primary inbox.
Ransomware is a sort of software that prohibits or restricts users' access to their computer by locking the screen or encrypting their files until a ransom is paid. Ransomware is frequently intended to propagate over a network and target database and file servers, putting a whole enterprise at risk. It's a rising problem that's producing billions of dollars in payouts to hackers while causing considerable harm and costs to businesses and government agencies.
The development of remote work and the rise of ransomware attacks are inextricably linked. Ransomware has grown into a profitable criminal industry. There is a range of affiliates, such as initial access brokers, in addition to threat actors. Initial access brokers search for weak and exposed credentials that may be used to build a beachhead for an attack and then sell them to the highest bidder.
3. Zero-Day Attacks
The phrase "zero-day" refers to newly found security flaws that hackers can exploit to attack systems. The phrase "zero-day" alludes to the fact that the vendor or developer only recently discovered the fault, leaving them with "zero days" to repair it. A zero-day attack occurs when hackers take advantage of weakness before engineers have a chance to fix it.
Zero-day vulnerabilities are difficult to identify since they can take many different forms, such as missing data encryption, missing authorizations, flawed algorithms, flaws, password security issues, and so on. Because of the nature of these vulnerabilities, full information regarding zero-day exploits is only available after the exploit has been discovered.
Remote or hybrid work models have become an important part of our lives, and so have cyber threats. That is why a company should never underestimate the risks cyber threats remote work brings. Understanding the importance of cyber security is crucial in our modern world since they are evolving and developing every day.
To keep your company’s confidential data safe and provide secure online access to your employers, you should consider implementing cyber security solutions and understand the cyber threats remote work may bring.