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Are you at risk of a cyber-attack while working from home?

Posted on May 12, 2020

For many of us here in Ireland, working from home was not part of our ‘normal’ at the beginning of 2020. It is during this time that we should become aware of the increased risk of a cyber-attack through our own devices. If you are using your home computer or laptop, is it sufficiently protecting your work? Have you considered that your home Wi-Fi may not be as secure as you think? Since the Covid-19 lockdown, millions of office workers have been forced to become remote workers around the globe. It has created a new wave of opportunity for cyber criminals. Many of whom will seek to exploit the crisis and penetrate corporate defences via these unsecured home networks.

Cyber security company Cynet has identified two main trends in the coronavirus-linked information security breaches. The first being cyber-attacks aimed at stealing remote user credentials. The second involving weaponised email attacks. For example phishing and malware that may not be picked up by home email software.

For cyber criminals it is the perfect time to get a malware link to an employee who is feeling anxious. These thieves may also target the not so tech-savvy end user who may be simply keen to know the latest Covid-19 news and information. One ill-informed action may be all that is required for ransomware to penetrate corporate defences from remote locations.

While highly secure corporate networks should be able to prohibit or at least identify unauthorised activities. Meaning it ensures that data assets remain protected and services are uninterrupted. Home-based WiFi networks and 4G connections don’t have the benefit of corporate security policies and technologies.

This is just another reason why Cyber Insurance should be considered by a business. Any company that deals with customer data is open to a cyber-attack. Employees working from home increases the likelihood of this happening even further.

What steps can I take to limit the risk of a cyber-attack?

If you are an employee working from home you can greatly reduce the likelihood of a cyber-attack.

  • Don’t click on any links on strange or unusual emails. Hackers need to be able to gain access to your system in some shape or form and this method is one of the most commonly used
  • Ensure you’re PC or laptop has some form of antivirus protection installed
  • Make sure your home Wi-Fi is password protected
  • Keep your PC/laptop in a safe place when you are not using it
  • If you are concerned about a risk of a cyber-attack you should contact your manager or IT department and see what steps they have in place for employees

As a business owner you can take some simple steps to protect against a cyber-attack. Identify the risks in your business with your IT and compliance teams. If you are a small business, identify where you store your customer data currently. Ask yourself is it safe and secure enough. If you are a business owner and still wondering if you need Cyber Insurance, read our article on “Cyber Insurance, do I need it?”. If you missed our article on data breaches from companies you may use everyday you can read it here.

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