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Rise in home working cybersecurity concerns


There have been rising concerns surrounding the cyber-security of home working in recent weeks, reports the BBC.

Following the UK Government’s decision to impose national lockdown measures in January 2021, official data has shown that one in three UK employees are currently working from home environments.

As a result, there are cybersecurity threats facing businesses of all sizes.

Hackings are “never ending”

A Senior Network Manager who spoke to the BBC said that his employer suffered “different hacking attacks every single week”, claiming that the issues are “never ending.”

“We see everything. Staff get emails sent to them pretending to be from the service desk, asking them to reset their log-in passwords.

“We see workers being tricked into downloading viruses from hackers demanding ransoms, and we have even had employees sent WhatsApp messages pretending to be from the CEO, asking for money transfers.

“And having staff working from home during the lockdowns has just made it worse, as it is much harder to keep an eye on everyone.”

A lack of cybersecurity training?

Hayes Connor Solicitors – who recently conducted surveys into the cybersecurity practices of UK home workers – found that many employees received no form of cyber-training before working from home.

Christine Sabino, a Senior Associate at the legal firm, commented: “In the rush and panic to set remote working practices up, even simple data protection practices were ignored.

“Companies did not provide additional security relating to computers, electronic communication, phone communication.”

The survey also revealed that basic security protocol such as shredding sensitive company documents was being regularly ignored; two in three employees admitted to disposing of such work by putting documents in their waste bins.

Becoming more cyber-secure

On the topic of businesses creating a cyber-secure, home working set up for their employees, Ted Harrington, a US Cybersecurity Specialist, remarked: “Supply staff with laptops and other equipment that are owned, controlled and configured by the company.

“This alleviates the burden on your people to set things up right, and ensures they follow the security controls the company wants.”

For employees, some of the most effective ways to prevent cyber-attacks are to ignore messages and suspicious links from unrecognised addresses/numbers, liaise directly with employers and colleagues if requested to transfer money or personal information, use VPNs, and avoid writing down obtainable information such as passwords or bank details.

To read helpful and up-to-date cybersecurity guidance, visit the NCSC.