Returning to the Workplace Raises Cybersecurity Concerns [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

For many of us, our living rooms, home offices, kitchens and maybe even closets have served as our workplaces for over a year now. While offering its own set of conveniences, the major shift to work from home practices forced by the pandemic also brought about several challenges. Among them was maintaining cybersecurity standards.  Now that companies are beginning to transition back into hybrid or in-person work settings, that challenge persists.

As reported in Forbes, a survey released by Tessian, an email security company, revealed that 56% of IT leaders “believed their employees have picked up bad cybersecurity behaviors since working from home.” The survey, which gathered responses from 4,000 professionals and 200 IT leaders in the U.S. and UK, also found that over a quarter of employees admitted to making mistakes that potentially threatened the safety of their devices while working from home. Although many of the participants in the study shared that they believe returning to the office will bring about a renewed compliance with cybersecurity guidelines, 54% worried that employees will come back with devices that have been compromised with malware.

According to KOMONews, cybersecurity experts warn that the increase in malware-infected devices is a significant problem for employees and employers. Mike Simon of Critical Insight Security explained to the outlet that one of the malware concerns is “sleeper malware.” As he put it, employees could have potentially accessed this malware “that’s specifically looking around and seeing if it’s on a home network and then going back to sleep. If it wakes up and it’s on a corporate network, it’s going to activate.” Suggestions to address such potential issues include quarantining and scanning devices that are being brought back to the office. Only once the devices have been marked as secure should they be approved for use on the network. Experts also suggest enhancing education for teams on recognizing and preventing cybersecurity problems.

“A year into the pandemic and one thing is crystal clear, the future of work is hybrid,” Steve Durbin writes for Security Magazine. In fact, the article reports that 82% of organizations intend to continue allowing days where staff can choose to work from home. However, this means that the challenges associated with such work environments are likely to carry on. Therefore, Durbin further outlines some of the concerns and solutions to keep in mind. The top five cybersecurity issues provided are cyberattacks on cloud services, lack of home security such as unprotected mobile devices and Wi-Fi networks, ease at which cybercriminals can fake identities to access sensitive information, prolonged information lifecycles and weakened awareness of activity such as phishing campaigns. Like in the KOMONews report, Durbin also recommends education as a critical method to curbing such risk. Cybersecurity hygiene curriculum should include “…ongoing security awareness training and live simulation exercises that develop muscle memory,” according to Durbin. Additionally, the article recommends creating and using tools that are built-in to guide employees in making the best cybersecurity decisions.

Key Takeaways:

“How Cybersecurity Habits Of Returning Remote Workers Can Put Companies At Risk” – Edward Segal, Forbes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2021/06/15/how-cybersecurity-habits-of-returning-remote-workers-can-put-companies-at-risk/?sh=7b90ff4c2be2

  • A survey released by Tessian, an email security company, revealed that 56% of IT leaders “believed their employees have picked up bad cybersecurity behaviors since working from home.”
  • Over a quarter of employees admitted to making mistakes that potentially threatened the safety of their devices while working from home.
  • Fifty-four percent worried that employees will come back to the workplace with devices that have been compromised with malware.

“Return to Office: Cybersecurity experts seeing more malware on devices of employees” – Suzanne Phan, KOMONews

https://komonews.com/news/local/return-to-office-cyber-security-experts-seeing-more-malware-on-devices-of-employees

  • Cybersecurity experts warn that the increase in malware-infected devices is significant problem for employees and employers.
  • Mike Simon of Critical Insight Security explained that one of the malware concerns is “sleeper malware.”
  • Suggestions to address such potential issues include quarantining and scanning devices that are being brought back to the office.

“Top 5 cybersecurity challenges in the hybrid office” – Steve Durbin, Security Magazine

https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/95434-top-5-cybersecurity-challenges-in-the-hybrid-office

  • Eighty-two percent of organizations intend to continue allowing days where staff can choose to work from home.
  • The top five cybersecurity issues facing the hybrid workplace include cyberattacks on cloud services, lack of home security such as unprotected mobile devices and Wi-Fi networks, ease at which cybercriminals can fake identities to access sensitive information, prolonged information lifecycles and weakened awareness of activity such as phishing campaigns.
  • The author of the article recommends strengthening training for employees and increasing reliance on tools that have cybersecurity guides built in.
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