Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many who typically work in an office have found themselves performing work duties in their homes. This can be a potentially dangerous situation in terms of cybersecurity and data protection.  By following a few simple best practices, even novice remote workers can do their part to keep themselves and their companies safe while working from home. Below, the cybersecurity experts at MonsterCloud review some work-from-home cybersecurity tips that will help lessen the chance that an employee or their company will fall victim to cybercrime.

COVID-19 INCREASES CYBERATTACKS
Since the pandemic began and the majority of people’s lives was forced online, cybercrime has soared. The Cyber Division of the FBI recently released to incredible statistics on what they are seeing during the pandemic. At one point, the division was getting up to 4,000 complaints of cyberattacks a day. That number is a 400% increase from the number of complaints before the pandemic started.

It is not just a U.S. issue either. The European-based international police organization,  Interpol reports that “with organizations and businesses rapidly deploying remote systems and networks to support staff working from home, criminals are also taking advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits and cause disruption.”

These statistics and statements both point to the same thing. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home and using that to their advantage. They are using ransomware, phishing scams, malware, and more to gain access to companies’ systems for profit.  

WHO ARE CYBERATTACKERS TARGETING?
The short answer is, ransomware attackers will attack anyone with a computer and an internet connection without thinking twice about it. Big companies, small businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and even individuals are all seen as potential targets. This is a crime designed to make the criminals money so the more people and organizations they attack, the more chances they have that their ransom will be paid.

That said, there are institutions that these criminals are attacking at a much higher rate and with much more intensity than others. Right now, because of how hectic these organizations are due to the coronavirus and how many people they have - many of whom are working from home - these places are more susceptible to attacks than others. This includes large, multinational companies, the healthcare industry, schools, and local governments.

RECENT ATTACKS
No one can be sure from the outside that all the recent, major cyberattacks are due to working at home. Only when a skilled cybersecurity company like MonsterCloud reviews the attack can the true source of the attack be found. However, the sheer increase in successful attacks paired with the COVID-related stay-at-home orders makes it a good bet that the two things are related.

MONSTERCLOUD REVIEWS TOP CYBERSECURITY TIPS
• Tip #1: Make Sure Systems are Up to Date
Still hitting “Remind Me Tomorrow” on that system update prompt the computer has been reminding about since the pandemic started? If so, it’s way past time to install any updates that are needed.

• Tip #2: Make Sure Anti-Virus Software is Up to Date
The tip is to keep anti-virus software up to date, but that is assuming the software is being used. If not, stop reading this right now and go install one.  Anti-virus software  is the easiest way to protect from hackers. Like in most situations, the criminals will always be ahead of the people trying to stop them but anti-virus software will catch the majority of attacks before they harm the system.

• Tip #3: Watch Out for COVID-19 Phishing Scams
When MonsterCloud reviews the ransomware attacks that have happened during the pandemic, the company has found that many have started with pandemic-related phishing emails. These emails are designed to take advantage of people’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge about pandemic-related topics.

• Tip #4: Watch the Wireless Internet
Whether logging onto the internet-based cloud or a company’s in-house servers to access the company’s systems, chances are people are using WiFi to do so. Securing WiFi is of critical importance when working from home. If the home WiFi is not password protected, that is something that needs to be done. If it is, make sure that the password is a strong password and not the default one the router came with. Using something like an address or “password1234” is also not a good idea.  

Cybercrime, especially ransomware is a huge problem right now. The global pandemic has forced people to work from home and criminals are taking advantage of this with a growing number of attacks. By following these few simple tips though, everyone can be better prepared to work from home and have less of a chance of being the cause of a cyberattack on their company.

Information for this article was provided by MonsterCloud. Learn more at monstercloud.com.


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