Preventing Cyber Attacks on Remote Employees
The COVID-19 pandemic has solidified remote work as a new operational standard. Employers should expect this trend to only grow in the future. In fact, many major companies, such as Twitter and Microsoft, have indicated that remote work will be an indefinite option for their employees.
While this is exciting in many ways, remote work also comes with unique challenges—namely, cybersecurity. This article discusses some cybersecurity risks that remote employees face and offers potential solutions.
Cyber Threats to Monitor
Hackers have been assaulting businesses since the first computer was invented, always trying new methods of gaining critical information. Depending on the size of the organization, it may receive dozens or thousands of hacking attempts each day. These attempts are typically brushed aside by IT security teams and firewalls. However, with employees working from home, those protections aren’t as guaranteed.
The following are some of the most common cyber threats facing individuals:
- Phishing and vishing: Phishing is an attempt to gain personal information, such as computer passwords, Social Security numbers or other data. Hackers and scammers will impersonate a legitimate company and send fake emails to solicit this information, typically with a phony threat.
Vishing, or voice phishing, takes this process a step further. This is when a scammer spoofs a legitimate phone number (from within the organization or otherwise) and poses as an IT help desk, using that alias to solicit personal information. These calls may even be routed to personal cellphones, making it harder for organizations to catch. Vishing attempts are a recent trend, but are increasingly prevalent. Employers should review existing cybersecurity policies to directly address vishing.
- Malware: Malware is a type of computer virus that is typically disguised as an innocuous program, email attachment or link. These viruses infect computers and can do any number of tasks, typically hidden to the user. For instance, they might store password data, track website activity or download personal files.
- Brute force attacks: Brute force attacks are when hackers try logging into someone’s account many, many times. These attempts work most often when individuals reuse usernames and passwords across different accounts. A hacker may expose the information to one account, then use those credentials everywhere else they can think of, eventually gaining access.
These cyber threats are made worse when employees are working from home, especially if they