Are Your Remote Workers Protected from Cyber-Attacks?
We live in an increasingly lawless world with hackers and scammers targeting us in our homes via our phones and our computers. Whether it is a mobile phone scam or an internet scam, many private individuals are falling for a range of sophisticated frauds designed to gain access to our bank accounts. To the scammer we are all low hanging fruit, simply there for the picking.
Most of us have noticed the rise of scam attacks on a personal level and when it comes to business networks and internet security, the dangers of cyber-attacks are equally real. However for a business, the risks are exacerbated because if a hacker gains access to one computer or device on a network, the whole system is compromised. Many small businesses will find it hard to recover once they have become the next victim of a cyber-attack.
The COVID pandemic has increased the risk of cyber-attacks.
The COVID pandemic has increased the risk of cyber-attack because of the rise of remote working. Many companies had to quickly adapt to the new normal way of remote working and with employees struggling to adapt to working from home, this has left holes in cyber security. It can be very easy for home workers to blur the distinctions between work and home and without the boss looking over their shoulder in the home environment; it is only too easy to click on a dodgy link that enables the scammers to gain access to your work network.
Because so many businesses had to adapt to home working so quickly, many small companies did not consider the need for enhanced cyber security. The hackers know that most small business networks are not protected which can make your business network an alluring target.
So what types of cyber-attacks are out there?
There are many different types of cyber-attack out there and small business owners need to protect their networks by preventing remote workers from clicking on any dodgy links via the business network. In addition, business owners need to make sure that any third party software is safe and does not enable the scammer to gain access to the whole network.
1. Texts, malware and phishing emails
Often purporting to originate from a trusted party such as an internet provider, HMCR or the Post Office, this type of cyber-attack is a massive threat to your business security. If your employee uses your network to respond to one of these threats it could also compromise your security.
In addition, the scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, sending fake versions of video conferencing tools and apps as well as fake messaging apps. If your employee clicks on one of these, believing it to be a work-related matter; malicious software will be installed on your network. This is a growing problem and according to internet security experts over 1.5 million malicious files were spread by these fake apps in the USA alone.
Once the preserve of major businesses, these days even small companies are being held hostage with Ransomware. This type of attack sees hackers breaking into company networks and holding the data hostage for a fee. There is usually a very small timeframe in which to pay the ransom fee which adds to the pressure.
3. Third-Party Software
How do you know that the software you use is legitimate and without risk? If hackers manage to infiltrate your company’s network via your software, your customers’ security will be compromised as well as your own.
4. Brute Force Attacks
This is where scammers try to infiltrate your system by the use of passwords and user name combinations. Once they are in your system, they can clear your account, compromise your customers and cause your whole business to fail. This method of attack was particularly effective by the use of RDP servers – a Microsoft tool for accessing Windows software and desktops remotely. Unless the most up to date software were pre-installed, this method of entry was very successful for scammers.
So how do you protect your company from cyber-attacks?
Here are some tips to help you improve your company’s cybersecurity:
1. Staff Training
Many people consider themselves IT experts but overconfidence can lead to security breaches. Make sure that you provide full training for staff working at home so that they take cybersecurity seriously and are less likely to click on unknown links etc. Telling your staff that they are likely to be targeted when working from home, will help them avoid falling for scam emails and links.
2. Control access to the network
Not all employees need to see everything held on your network. So segmenting access to your system and applications will help protect your data. You should also block certain apps and certain websites and make sure that your staff knows the difference between what is acceptable and what is not.
3. Make sure your software is fit for your purpose
Using Third-party software is an easy way to gain access so always make sure you choose software from a reputable and reliable provider. When you download the software make sure that it is the correct file and not a scam clone. The best way to do this is to have your IT department download the software for your employees, rather than enabling them to do this for themselves at home.
The best way to ensure security is to provide the laptops for remote working, rather than leave it to your employees to use their own machines. Alternatively if you are using a cloud-based service, using software that is live in the cloud and can be accessed via a private network by employees may also be a workable solution.
Where can I find an IT support company to help keep my business secure?
Your business cannot properly function without the influence of a supportive and established IT team.
We work with large corporates and small businesses to provide a quality IT service that meets business goals. We have expertise in all of the above categories and help establish solid systems and processes that influence your business’s profitability and safety. For IT support in London, reach out to us today, and we can discuss your specific needs.