The world is slowing down during this COVID-19 pandemic. We’re told to quarantine or self-isolate and not engage in groups. But there’s one group that’s not slowing down at all, cyber criminals. Cyber criminals and hackers will turn a global crisis into an opportunity to strike even harder than before. In fact, within the past month cyber attacks have increased by 37% of their usual levels.

As more organizations encourage their employees to work remotely, there are more opportunities to catch you off guard. Virtual meeting software is seeing higher traffic than ever before. As such, if the equipment being used to access this software is being used properly, organizations could see the repercussions. These are clear opportunities for cyber criminals to leverage. When you work from home, you’re taking your organization’s proprietary data with you. To combat the increase in attacks, it is important to ensure that you are taking precautionary steps to secure your data while working from home.

Virtual meetings

Virtual meetings are the new go-to. They provide the face to face benefit without the physical contact. Unfortunately, this technology allows unwanted visitors to eaves drop. In fact, there was a recent bug in the Zoom Meeting software that has resulted in a new attack called Zoombombing. The FBI received multiple reports of video conference calls being interrupted by “pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language”. Zoom claims they are aware of this set back and recently released a statement notifying users that they are increasing their security protocols and exploring further ways to protect their user’s security. But of course, it is recommended to take this statement with a grain of salt.

To take matters into your own hands, there are things you can do to protect your meetings. You should set up meeting password, inform all attendees to sign in with their real name, and review all attendees that are present. You can also lock the session once all attendees are present to ensure that no one else can join unexpectedly. Taking these actions are particularly important if you are discussing confidential information such as PII or proprietary information.

Home equipment

Before utilizing virtual meeting software, it is important to have a secure home equipment setup. Many businesses have already had executives and sales reps that have a travel set up to work remotely. Their systems were set up for secure access outside of the corporate firewall. But today support staff, financial staff, administrative workers, marketing assistants, receptionists, and many others used to working in offices are now being sent home to work with their home desktop computers and phones. It is important to use a VPN connection to the office network but only if your home computer has first been scanned and is protected by a firewall. Connecting employees’ personal home computers across a VPN to a network, without first checking and sanitizing the computer, could allow malware to steal credentials to corporate systems and the sensitive, proprietary, and regulated data they hold.

Additionally, if you are utilizing standard equipment provided by your cable company, make sure to change the password on the router with something complex and unique. Just as you would do in the office, always turn off devices when not in use and lock screens when stepping away. If you are using a home printer, don’t print documents unless you can immediately secure them from unauthorized users.

Home environment

In addition to Zoom, you could be at security risk without even realizing. There are additional security protocols you can take to secure your remote work. Do you have an Alexa? Did you know it is ALWAYS listening to everything you say? If you are discussing proprietary information, client information, or personal information, it is best to disable your Alexa for the time being. Do you have a webcam built into your laptop or desktop? Did you know that there is a possibility of hackers gaining remote access to your webcam? You should always cover your webcam when it is not in use. Do your children share your computer that use to work? Many children are “click happy”. If there is a pop up in the middle of their game or website they are using, chances are they will do whatever they need to do to get rid of it. Unfortunately, a wrong click could invite malware into your system. It is best to monitor children on your computer and (if possible) set restrictions on personal/work PC.

We discussed the pros and cons of VM software in our most recent webinar. Did you miss it? Listen on-demand here.