The white-collar professionals lucky enough to ride out the coronavirus pandemic by working from home enjoyed the flexibility and simplicity of remote work. So did the black-hat hackers.
Hackers also took advantage of the transition to remote work. A California-based cybersecurity firm found that ransomware attacks exploded last year as companies decentralized their online systems and sent their employees out of the office. As of May, there had been 5,258 data breaches in the past year, an increase of one-third over the year before.
At home, employees were much more likely to use their personal devices, and they were dependent on their home internet instead of the company’s internet, which is typically more secure.
"Most cyber victims in 2020 were predicated on the work-from-home context. It makes it so much easier for hackers to exploit gaps and holes in the system, from home than in the office," said Brian Horton, the CEO of Breadcrumb Cybersecurity.
Zoom, a video conferencing app that became essential to many companies during the pandemic, was a popular target for many hackers, especially during the first few months of quarantine when companies were still trying to figure out how the platform worked. Hackers cleverly tried to trick remote workers into installing a fake version of Zoom using phishing emails and other messages. Once that file was downloaded, the attackers had a backdoor that allowed them to monitor almost any activity that took place on the machine, which they then used to steal sensitive personal information.
Some of these hackers were so successful that they managed to impersonate company executives and convince companies to wire money to the wrong bank account or send them valuable company information that they could then leverage for ransom money.
"The computer culture and rules that people usually follow in the office are not being followed from home. It's also a lot easier for hackers to impersonate someone's boss or colleague when they're working from home and exploit that for their own purposes," Horton said.
Your computer guys at the office will tell you that you need to make sure they’re on guard against potential cyberattacks, but companies also have a responsibility to protect their employees from those attacks. Maybe it's time to bring everyone back to the office.
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Original Author: Kaylee McGhee White
Original Location: Hackers make the most of remote work