Working from home has been challenging for businesses when it comes to employees having to handle calls and accessing records, with many businesses forking out huge amounts of money in order to establish the new way of working during the pandemic.
For employees it has been a more relaxed and comfortable working experience also, allowing them to spend more time at home and work a more controlled pace. However, it has opened a huge floodgate for cyber criminals able to fully exploit the unexpected chaos that has left businesses vulnerable from employees not having the secure functionality to protect data and vulnerable information.
Across the Spectrum
Over the year 2020 there has been no let up in industries, brands, charities and governments feeling the violation and threat of data theft, which has been inflicted due to this point in history relying on the digital domain more than any point in history without the foresight of how to protect data online.
When aspects once unreliant on low internet dependency had to completely change their way of working in order to survive, the need for their workforce to take up station from home had to be suddenly rushed without proper time to set up securely. This was every cyber criminal’s Christmases rolled into one as ransomware attacks were inflicted to unprecedented effectiveness whilst the targeted businesses were slow to set protective measures into place.
Hackers began quickly targeting organization networks from large tech companies to local governments along with hundreds of other sectors that they could never have gained access to in such an available fashion before.
Art of the Attack
By gaining access through home workers connection, hackers were able to encrypt servers, services and files with their ransomware and demand bitcoin ransoms in the ranges of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for the safe return of data and records, which also would be put for sale on the dark web or sold to underhanded marketing avenues.
Without the safety of an office firewall, those working from their kitchen table or bedrooms with whatever resources they had to work with, with no assurance or possibility of each employee having the right safety measures in place to protect the company.
With the pandemic providing many employees with the unexpected presence of home working, possibly for the first time ever, the isolation from the corporate environment would not provide them with cybersecurity warnings and a shield against malicious attacks, as well as the unavailability to ask for guidance and help against security risks.
By relying on a lot of email exchanges between the business and employees, a smooth pathway is provided to infiltrate networks via phishing attacks. This enables attackers to direct employees to a link that requires their Microsoft Office 365 username and password, gaining them entry into the network. Employees can also compromise their own personal information and entry into their shopping, social media and streaming providers if their laptops or computers are used for the same purposes as work.
Upon accessing and compromising a home user, the attacker will wait in the background for the company VPN to be connected and then have free reign to pillage any and all information for personal gain. Information security teams have a hard task due to irregular working hours around home lifestyles in order to identify unusual activities by network intruders.
Fixing the Problems
By applying security patches in a regular pattern, ransomware attacks can be prevented by making attackers unable to take advantage of known vulnerabilities spread around the networks.
No matter how ransomware remains a large problem for businesses and organizations the world over, cyberattackers are very quick to evolve with schemes and higher ransoms but have been combated by businesses following correct security protocols across premises and remote environments.
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