5 reasons remote work leads to more cyberattacks
2020 introduced fundamental changes to the workspace for many individuals around the world. While Covid-19 ravaged countries on every continent, businesses adapted, enabling many employees to work from home.
Now, as we lead into 2023, Covid-19 has become less of a concern for businesses - yet the ability to work from home has remained. By the end of 2022, 56% of companies allowed their team to take their work to their home desktops, and for a good reason. According to a survey conducted by Owl Labs, remote workers are happier and stay in their jobs longer. In fact, 69% of millennials are willing to give up certain work benefits for the flexibility that comes from working at home.
However, it’s not all good news. The rise of remote work has also seen the highest rise of cyberattacks in history. Many of these attacks have resulted in businesses losing thousands of dollars, hours of downtime, and the trust of their customers.
If you’re a business considering remote working opportunities for your employees, here are a few things to consider when it comes to cybercrime.
1. More Avenues of Attack
With more remote work comes more opportunities for criminals. Every device your workers use, from phones and tablets to laptops and computers, is a potential target. Criminals can use these avenues of attack to find vulnerabilities in your organization as a whole.
Historically, criminals have used remote workers to create an opening that forces larger-scale attacks like DDoS strikes. These are often used as a cover or distraction for more damaging attacks.
2. Lack of security skills
When a cyberattack hits a business, time is of the essence. Speed matters because the faster a company can become protected, the faster it can get back to being productive. On the other hand, the slower a company responds, the more opportunity a criminal can make for themselves, opening more doors for follow-up attacks.
The challenge with remote work is that cybersecurity staff are further away and take longer to respond than if they were in the same building as the affected device. Criminals know this and, as such, see remote workers as ideal targets for extended attacks.
3. Vulnerable hardware
Remote working means most employees will resort to personal devices at one point or another. While this isn’t a problem in itself, the majority of workers lack the skill to ensure their home routers, laptops, and smartphones are updated and adequately secured.
Unfortunately, in today’s hyper-connected world, security is only as strong as the weakest device on the network. With a remote working environment, this could be anything from routers and laptops to fitness watches and smartphones.
4. Untrusted networks
Working from home doesn’t always mean workers will work from home. Many encounter issues or have the inclination to work from areas with public Wi-Fi, which are high-risk networks for cybercriminal activity.
In addition to this, home networks are often vulnerable to malicious attacks, so much so that the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) highlighted the risk in a June 2022 alert.
5. Unforeseen users
While businesses may invest in employees who work remotely, they often do not account for other potential users. Working from home means company computers or user devices will be used by other members of an employee’s family, including young children.
Reminding staff to keep their devices safe is critical, but even the most vigilant employee may use their phone to respond to an email on the go, gaining access to the wider organization. Additional users are usually not malicious in intent, yet are risks all the same. They are more likely to make risky or poor decisions online that make the device - and all other devices connected to it - open to attack.
Remote work is here to stay
Despite the inherent risks involved with remote working, it's important to note that it is here to stay. More businesses are adopting working from home as an option to attract better employees for longer periods of time.
Thankfully, there are solutions available to businesses who want to keep their data safe online. SCION is the best option for companies in terms of network security because it takes workers off the public internet - no matter where they decide to work from. Businesses can take complete control over their data and who has access to it and automatically lock out suspicious connections.
If you’re ready to take the next step in remote cybersecurity, book a meeting with us today.