10 Working from Home Cyber Risks to be Aware of

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As of 2020, over 1/3rd of the population continued to work from home. Fast forward to 2021, and we anticipate that figure hasn’t changed much. Many companies offering work from home benefits, including full remote working, or a mix of office life and working from home. With this increase in flexibility, however, comes increased security risks. There are many cyber security risks of working from home to be aware of, including phishing emails and unsafe WiFi connections. We’ve listed and discussed the many remote working security risks, so you can be aware of the dangers and prevent them accordingly.

Remote Working Security Risks

  1. Using personal devices for work
We’ve all been there – finishing off a work email from your phone, taking a work Zoom meeting on your personal laptop, or even accessing your work emails from your home desktop. A recent study showed that 46% of employees have admitted to transferring files from a work computer to a personal device. This habit of file sharing and limited boundaries is a threat and a major remote working security risk that you should be aware of. Many work computers are security-tight, using VPNs and anti-virus malware to ensure work is secure. However, your personal devices may not have updated software and additional security measures to help keep your workspace safe. Due to this, you’re at risk of a cybersecurity threat. Furthermore, for employers, if an employee were to leave their job, this would mean that they may have sensitive work information on their personal devices. Therefore, to be safe, we strongly advise against using home devices for work. You can find out more about the importance of cyber security in business, and how to protect your business while employees at remote working, over on our informative blog post.
  1. Unsecure WiFi connection
One of the biggest cybersecurity risks when working from home is an unsafe WiFi connection. If your employees are connected to their home WiFi, or working in a local café using public WiFi, their account is not secure and therefore at risk. An unsafe WiFi connection makes it easy for cybercriminals to harvest confidential information. To reduce this remote working security risk, invest in a VPN connection.
  1. Using weak password
This may be the most basic and straightforward work from home cyber risk tip; however, we feel it needs to be re-iterated: use strong passwords! VPNs and other cybersecurity software do an excellent job at keeping you safe 95% of the time; however, human error can let you down. Using a strong password helps to reduce the risk of a password threat and a potential data leak. Additionally, make sure you don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. We recommend passwords with a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  1. Use a sliding webcam cover
We’re all very accustomed to Zoom, Teams, and Google Meets by now – taking calls and online meetings when working from home is part of our daily routine. Unfortunately, hackers can hack into your account and access your webcam without your permission. This remote working security risk is fundamentally a threat to your privacy and your safety. Additionally, you may have sensitive documents on display that are visible via your webcam. To reduce this working from home cyber risk, use a sliding webcam cover, so your camera isn’t visible when not in use. If using a plugin webcam, turn it off at the plug when it isn’t in use.
  1. Ensure Zoom connections are private
In the same vein as securing your webcam connection and protecting your privacy, ensuring that all of your video meeting links are secure is also essential to the security of your data. Zoom came under fire after a report of ‘Zoom bombing’ attacks, whereby an uninvited person gains access to a video conference. This may result in that person gathering sensitive information about your company, clients or employees. To prevent this remote working security risk, you can take the following steps:
  • Ensure meetings require a password upon entry.
  • Keeping guests in a controlled waiting room.
  • Inspect the security and safety of the video conference platform you are using.
  • Update your security software.
To find out more about zoom security, please take a look at our dedicated blog post on the topic.
  1. Email scams
Email scams, commonly known as phishing, can pose a large threat to your employees and your company, making it a serious cybersecurity risk when working from home. Phishing involves disguising an email to be from a legitimate source and sending an email containing a link. Once clicked, this link will allow hackers access to the victim’s data and information. Threats include identity fraud, data leaks and blackmailing. As techniques become more sophisticated and scam emails become harder to spot, it’s important always to keep an eye out when receiving emails that look slightly off.
  1. Oversharing in public
We are all aware of the ‘train guy’; the people who talk so loudly on the train about their corporate dealings that even Bob Mortimer started a sketch about them. When talking loudly in public about private work matters, you’re compromising sensitive work information. Similarly, it’s lovely to have a change of scene and work from your local café during the workday. However, leaving your laptop unattended whilst you order your cappuccino leaves your data vulnerable to any passers-by who can see your screen. Basic security measures like this may seem like common sense, but they are often the most overlooked.
  1. Unsecure file sharing
We’ve covered sharing files from your work computer to your personal devices, but have you ever considered that your files might not be safe when sending them to colleagues, even inside your security system? When working from home, you can’t call people over to your desk to overlook documents, meaning that file sharing is a common practice. However, this is a remote working security risk as this information may not be encrypted during the file-sharing process. If the information is not sent securely, this could result in the information being intercepted and seized by a cybercriminal, putting yourself and your company at risk.
  1. Keep young children out of reach
There’s a saying in show business: never work with children or animals. Unfortunately, for some working from home, children are present during the workday. Although you may deem it unlikely, your devices are at risk of little one’s fingers. Your computer could be accessed by young children or other family members, increasing the risk of leaking data or sharing sensitive information, making this a working from home cyber risk. Therefore, it’s important to keep your password private, secure and regularly updated. Additionally, passwords protect any sensitive documents as a further prevention method.
  1. Logistical problems with IT help
If you have an on-site IT technician, you may want to re-evaluate your work from home procedures if something were to go wrong with an employee’s computer whilst working from home. Distance and logistical issues could prevent the IT technician from effectively solving IT problems associated with cyber-attacks, meaning the risk of a successful cyber crime increases. Ensure your IT department has the correct procedures to deal with issues from employers working from home to make sure all bases are covered. An easy way to do this is to seek help from an IT consultant with experience in remote working. We urge you to keep on top of your safety practices, constantly reviewing your procedures and connections to ensure you act as safely as possible to prevent cybercrime. If you have any concerns or questions about any remote working security risks mentioned, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team contact our team. Additionally, our team would be happy to assist you if you would like to enquire about any of our services, our team would be happy to assist you.

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