8 Cybersecurity Threats for Work-From-Home Professionals

8 Cybersecurity Threats for Work-From-Home Professionals


Cybersecurity is an important consideration for any professional who works from home. With the increase in remote working, there has also been a corresponding increase in the number of cyberattacks. While many of these threats are aimed at large businesses or government institutions, home-based workers are also at risk.

Cybercriminals know that many people work from home and are increasingly targetting these individuals to steal confidential information or infect systems with malware. Home networks are often less secure than corporate ones, and work-from-home professionals may not have the same IT support to fall back on if something goes wrong.

As a result, it is essential for anyone in a remote work setup to be aware of the cybersecurity risks that could impact their security and privacy and to take steps to protect themselves.

Malware

If employees’ devices are infected with malware, it can spread quickly through the network, resulting in lost data, damaged files, and even downtime. Malware can spread through email attachments, websites, or even physical devices such as USB drives.

From AV-ATLAS data, there is more than 1.1 billion malware that exists. Firewalls and intrusion detection systems are examples of technological solutions that can assist prevent harmful traffic, while processes such as user activity monitoring and data encryption can help to detect and prevent unauthorized access. 

Ransomware

One of the most pervasive and destructive cybersecurity threats, ransomware, is a sort of malware that encrypts files and demands a fee to recover them. Once a system has been infected with ransomware, the attacker will often threaten to release sensitive data or delete files if the ransom is not paid.

While many companies provide some type of security software, it is not always enough to protect against the latest ransomware. To lessen the risk of infection, companies must take a multi-layered approach that includes both technology and processes.

Botnets

A botnet is an infected computer network that can be used to carry out cyberattacks. By infecting a computer with malware, attackers can gain control of the machine and use it to send spam emails, launch denial-of-service attacks, or even steal sensitive data. What makes botnets particularly dangerous is that they can be very difficult to detect and defend against.

One of the effective ways to protect against botnets is to keep all software updated. Attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to infect computers with malware.

Trojan Horse

Named for the mythical Greek siege of Troy, a Trojan horse is a malicious program masquerading as a benign file or application. Once installed on a victim’s computer, it can give attackers full control of the system, allowing them to steal sensitive data or launch additional attacks.

Some simple company policy changes can help reduce the risk of a Trojan horse attack. For example, employees should only be allowed to install programs that have been approved by IT. In addition, all programs and files should be scanned before they are opened.

Unsafe Wi-Fi Network

Many assume that their home network is secure, but this is often not the case. Hackers can easily access unencrypted networks and steal sensitive data. Even if a network is encrypted, it may still be vulnerable to attack if the password is weak or reused across multiple devices.

One of the most common types of attacks is known as a “man-in-the-middle” attack, in which a hacker intercepts communications between two devices. This can allow the hacker to eavesdrop on sensitive conversations or access personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

This is why work-from-home professionals need to take steps to protect their data, such as using a virtual private network (VPN) or disabling Wi-Fi when working with sensitive information. 

Lost or Stolen Devices

Another common cybersecurity threat is the loss or theft of a laptop, smartphone, or other devices. If these devices are not protected with a strong password or encryption, the data can be easily accessed by anyone who finds them.

While it is hard to totally prevent the possibility of losing a device, individuals can take various precautions to reduce the chances of a data breach.

  • All devices should be password-protected
  • Data should be encrypted whenever possible
  • Workers should never leave their devices unattended in public places
  • Be certain to log out of all accounts when they are finished working

Phishing

Phishing is a cyber attack that uses fraudulent emails or websites to trick people into divulging sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account details.

Hackers can also use phishing attacks to install malware on a victim’s device or redirect them to a malicious website. Phishing attempts are becoming more sophisticated, making it difficult for even the most tech-savvy users to spot them.

To protect against phishing attacks, companies should provide their employees with training on how to identify suspicious emails and websites. In addition, they should consider implementing technologies that can detect and block phishing attempts.

Social Engineering

This type of scam relies on tricking people into divulging sensitive information or taking action that will compromise security.

For instance, a hacker might pose as a customer service representative and convince an employee to reset a password or provide them with access to a company network. Or, they might send an email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a business partner or bank, and trick the recipient into clicking on a malicious link.

Social engineering attacks are often difficult to detect and can be very costly if successful. The best defense against social engineering is user education and awareness. Employees should be trained to identify suspicious behavior and know not to take actions that could jeopardize security.

Wrapping Up

Companies and employees take advantage of the technology that allows us to be productive from anywhere and at any time. However, with this freedom comes an increase in cybersecurity threats. Knowing about the most common types of attacks is the first step in protecting yourself and your organization.

This is not an exhaustive list of cybersecurity threats, but it covers some of the most common and dangerous attacks. Stay vigilant and don’t let your guard down, especially when you’re working from home.

It’s always good to stay updated on the latest threats, but don’t forget the basics, such as using unique, strong passwords and encrypting your data. Taking these simple steps can go a long way in keeping you safe online while working at home.