December 16, 2020

The Increased Risks of Cybercrime, Protecting Yourself at Home

More than ever, employees are telecommuting. COVID-19 has quickly dismissed the preconception that physically going into the office is the only way to get work done. While experiencing this new level of freedom has been empowering for many, it’s also caused the line between personal and work time to blur. As a consequence, we’ve seen many caught off guard by cybercriminals that are now targeting employees isolated in their homes.

Cybersecurity is the largest in a slew of new issues we’ve seen arise in the work-from-home environment.
The in-office software and equipment most companies employ for defense is simply not available for employees to use individually at home. Thus, a vulnerability has been exposed and cybercriminals have been quick to address it with a stream of new viruses, scams, and other malicious activities.

Data security and confidence in system integrity are essential whether staff work at the office or at home. Staff must be trained to look for signs of malicious activity, have adequate virus protection, and be provided with the proper equipment to perform their jobs safely in the virtual setting.

According to Deloitte, there has been a 25% increase in phishing attempts and fraudulent emails since the beginning of COVID-19. The reality is criminals have little regard for the impact of the pandemic on health, financial security, and general well-being. A cybercriminal sees this pandemic as an opportunity to target those who are vulnerable. For them, this is an opportunity to hack into a Zoom meeting and breach company data, persuade employees to provide sensitive information electronically, or impersonate the Canada Revenue Agency for a quick phone call to obtain the company credit card number.

Here are some ways to stay safe and reduce your risk of falling victim to cybercrime:
• Assess the ability of your company to recover from a ransomware or widespread cyber-attack. If your systems are vulnerable, work with tech support or an outsourced professional to fortify your wireless network.
• Increase security monitoring on all company devices, particularly those containing sensitive data. If you haven’t already, you should provide each employee with a separate device to perform work-related functions. (This will also ensure any viruses on personal devices do not infect company files.)
• Verify the security systems of your business partners, service providers, and product suppliers to ensure your data is protected. Breaches often occur due to weaknesses in the supply chain.
• Regularly check that new security measures being taken are effective. Your revised cybersecurity procedures will have limited success if employees are not properly trained to implement them and active monitoring is not in effect.

Working from home comes with many advantages, but you need to ensure your team is prepared. Take time to review your company’s IT security plan and update your training requirements for the work-from-home environment. Educate your team on the latest scams and the importance of keeping devices secure. Finally, make sure that your company is adequately insured in the event that a cyber-attack does take place. +