Working from home – be aware of increased risk of online attacks

Cybercrime has increased due to the coronavirus outbreak as hackers take advantage of people spending more time online during this period of lockdown. It is therefore crucial for remote workers and business leaders to be aware of the increased risk for homeworkers.

 

Last month, hackers tried to break into the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid what a senior agency official described as a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks. While the hackers’ efforts were unsuccessful, the WHO’s Chief Information Security Officer warned that hacking activity against the agency and its partners had spiked amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Hackers are taking advantage of public fears surrounding coronavirus and exploit employees who are currently working from home throughout the pandemic.

 

  • Hackers may exploit fear and vulnerability of home workers by providing links to content pretending to provide false information on behalf of authoritative bodies and regarding things such as quarantine and school closures – all topics that people will want to keep updated with. If people are anxious and concerned, then they are more likely to become an easier target. Additionally, if scam memos are packaged to look like the real deal with headlines such as “the latest breaking news” then people will be more likely to click.
  • They may also try to exploit isolating or social distancing workers. If people are cooped up indoors by themselves all day and every day, and have less contact with work, friends and family, they may make poor decisions when it comes to ‘cyber hygiene’. This could mean that they click or download information that could put them at risk. Hackers can make these links look legitimate so it can sometimes be more difficult for people to spot.
  • With so many people working remotely and using personal tech to facilitate working from home, it is crucial employees don’t download sensitive corporate information onto the personal devices but to use work tech that will allow them to work safely.

 

Therefore, it is advised that managers issue guidelines to employees accessing work intranet systems from home, to be extra vigilant to hacker approaches.

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