Work From Home: Cyber Security during Covid-19

COVID-19 has significantly affected individuals and organizations globally. Till this time more than 1.7 million people in 210 countries have bore the brunt of this mysterious virus. While this crisis is unparalleled to the past crises that have shaken the world and had lasting impacts on different businesses, economies and societies but the one domain that had remained resilient through all the past crises and is going solid in COVID-19 as well is Cyber security.

While most of the sectors globally have been affected, Cybersecurity’s importance to organizations, consumers and home users have not only remained strong but have been increased drastically.

With the vast majority of employees working remotely, the Home has become the “New Enterprise”, exponentially increasing the radius of opportunities for the hackers to disrupt and take advantage of the current situation. Cybersecurity attacks have rapidly increased with hackers exploiting corona virus hysteria to launch new phishing campaigns related to the virus, fake websites, and fake social media profiles for circulating disinformation.

Sitting at home, learning at some technological gadget comes with cons too. Pakistan being a vulnerable state to cyber issues is at crossroad. Digital world yet to make secure for potential targets.

While companies are racing to protect their infrastructure against temporary gaps and vulnerabilities, massive shifts across the Cybersecurity ecosystem will be observed in order to address and protect our “new normal”.

In these extraordinary times of uncertainty due to this pandemic, we are experiencing and enduring immense changes to our daily lives and the economy at large. Cybersecurity is playing a vital role in many of these changes, and in some ways will result in a massive shift in the Cyber landscape creating a new sense of awareness for cybersecurity.

In contrast to industries such as travel and hospitality that are experiencing major business slowdowns as a result of the pandemic, Cybersecurity’s importance to consumers & organizations remains as strong as ever.The home has become a new resource for companies, as many employees are encouraged to work remotely as a health precaution.

This massive and rapidly occurring trend is causing business owners to re-evaluate their remote working policy, guidance, controls, and infrastructure to ensure security. As employees settling into their “new normal” of working remotely, there are certain things that should be kept in mind to help reduce Cybersecurity risk and identify social engineering exploits in their new work environment.

Work from Home Security Precautions:

Passwords: When possible, set-up new accounts and stronger passwords, and use multi-factor authentication if available.

Network

Security controls on home networks are not typically as advanced as enterprise systems; consider additional security solutions on routers & other devices that will be used for remote access

Data Precautions

Minimize usage of removable media (ie. USB drives) and try using more secure cloud storage or file sharing services to avoid accidental data loss or leakage.

Devices

If using personal devices rather than company issued devices, utilize encryption to protect data and connections in the event a device is lost or stolen.

General Awareness of New Hacking Campaigns:

Phishing Attacks

Hackers are preying on fears of COVID-19 by sending malicious links that claim to have important news updates on the virus, targeting both personal and work emails

Social Media

Fraudulent accounts and users spreading disinformation through additional high-volume channels to execute ransomware, credential theft, or fraud.

Phone/Voice

As more communication is done virtually, there is increasingly advanced voice and video manipulation technology that can be used to commit fraud and infiltrate enterprise systems

As with any event the magnitude of Covid-19 there will be positives and negatives. I think one positive we can walkway with is that being in quarantine with your family is a blessing and not a curse. You sometimes forget how much distractions, traffic and noise can take away from your life. Nevertheless work from home is the future for the enterprises, best of all the tools we use to do business online have progressed to a point where you can now run your business from anywhere in the world, provided you have internet connection.

The fact the internet and the tools have been able to not fail, not blow up and support this unprecedented load in our systems is truly an amazing feat. However, the downsides of cyber security still remain the biggest threats to our world, dare I say even worse than Covid-19 itself. We just haven’t seen the full manifestation of this threats yet.

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