As more and more of us work remotely, concerns about corporate data have become more valid than ever. Now, instead of working from centralized locations on a corporate network, we have agile teams from various geographic locations.
Despite the many positives, this brings to the table, it makes working over Wi-Fi’s when the company has no control over that Wi-Fi’s security or safety a daunting task. Luckily, we are here to help.
The Risks Of Unsecured Wi-Fi
This excellent article goes into greater depth about securing your data– and the many, many canny ways hackers breach it- if you’re looking to dig deeper into the most common wi-fi attacks used against corporate data.
However, these range from simple ‘oops’ to major coordinated attacks, so let’s walk briefly through some of the risks. It’s perfectly possible for non-malicious ‘breaches’ to occur simply by devices and connections carrying data connecting to unauthorized networks.
While breaches are unlikely to happen at this level, it’s still a security risk. However, malicious attempts to replicate this do exist. And with the Internet of Things now prolific, non-traditional networks can be as risky as the ones we think about—our mobiles and laptops.
Think about Bluetooth connections, barcode readers, or even your smart fridge! Don’t forget that informal or ad-hoc peer-to-peer connections can be deeply problematic in this respect. Then we can step this up to outright and intentional malicious instructions.
MAC spoofing, a type of identity theft where the MAC address of an authorized machine is copied, making it seem like it is using the network, is particularly vile. Additionally, hackers can dupe legitimate users into connecting to them as a kind of ‘middleman’.
Because traffic is forwarded to the right destination eventually, it can be tough to detect the data link. Then, of course, there’s the classic denial of service attack we all have some familiarity with- sending so much fake traffic a network crashes under it.
Cybersecurity While Working Remotely
While some of this needs skilled IT setup from the company, what can remote workers do to stay secure? Let’s take a look:
You can’t protect against what you don’t know. Cyberattacks have increased since the pandemic, and they won’t be going away. Data loss at the corporate level can be tricky indeed- think fines, reputation loss, and more.
Do you want to be the weak link? You don’t need to be an IT whizz kid to stay on top of common threats and manage them well.
You are already doing this- right? But make sure you keep your assets well protected through vigorous backups. This way, you can quickly roll back to safer, more secure versions without losing time and money if there is a loss, threat, or issue.
Remember that local backups, while handy during your workday, are pointless if there’s an intrusion- back up to a separate, secure device or location.
Software updates aren’t there to bother you; they play a critical role in keeping you safe. And there’s a dangerous period after software companies roll out updates where hackers know what vulnerabilities are there.
If you’re still running outdated software, they can use that to gain access to slow updaters like yourself. So don’t be this person!
Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication should be staples of your corporate and private security. Simply using a vigorous, long password, keeping it safe, and adding the extra layer of protection from multi-factor authentication through an app or device can do wonders to help you stay safe online.
Make sure you’re using them! And you should also be running antivirus and antimalware software by default.
One of the perks of remote work is the ability to work anywhere in the world- but that doesn’t mean you should treat any old wifi network you can access as secure. Criminal hackers have got smart about public wifi usage.
There are many risks- from simply hanging over your shoulder as you enter sensitive data in public to intercepting data you send on unsecured networks right through to actively baiting people with open connections they use without querying the risks.
And each and every one of them let the crooks siphon your sensitive data before it reaches its intended destination. Using an encrypted-at-source VPN from a trusted company can be a great help here.
While we tend to think of our corporate IT as something the IT department should handle, there’s a lot we can do as responsible employees to protect ourselves and our sensitive corporate data from threats- and it’s all pretty straightforward, too!