There is no doubt about it, IT security is the most challenging issue in the digital sphere. According to Fujitsu, ‘there will be more, and more complex, cyber security attacks in the coming year’.  (Fujitsu website homepage, 2020)
For today’s IT executives, keeping on top of cyber-criminals is no easy task.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and security
The global pandemic of 2020 has seen record numbers of people working from home, banking online and communicating via online chat forums. As our reliance upon digital technologies becomes an even greater and more integral part of everyday living, our exposure to criminal activity is exponentially increased.
Hackers and cyber-criminals see every societal change, (particularly surges in demand), every new piece of software and every Windows upgrade as an opportunity to exploit businesses and the general public.
Let’s take the Covid-19 Pandemic as an example. As soon as people were instructed to work from home by the Government, a new window of cyber-exploitation was opened. To be able to work from home, people must connect either through a VPN link, via email or with the use of video-conferencing software.
In the immediate aftermath of the Government’s announcement, many people immediately turned to familiar social networking sites and conferencing software, such as Facebook Live, Twitter and Zoom. It was not long before Zoom, (a relative newcomer to the market) started to show security flaws. Soon after this switch, local businesses started to complain that their systems had been infiltrated via this route. According to one article in the Guardian newspaper, ‘Account details and passwords have been stolen and are being sold on the dark web for use by criminals’. 
The same article highlighted that in the US, FBI agents had revealed that the agency was looking into greater incidences of video interruptions, known as “Zoom-bombing”. This is an attempt by cyber-criminals to interrupt and even take over video conferences and meetings or interject with loud, rude, and even abusive noises. Not only is this incredibly embarrassing for the people on the call, but it is also a significant security breach since people share sensitive and private information without necessarily thinking about it on video conference calls.
So what can you do to stay safe?
Big businesses understand the threats posed by cyber-criminals and tend to be well managed. They will have an internal team of IT experts and up to date software in place to prevent breaches. Should a breach occur, they will have processes in place to be able to deal with them. As an individual working from home, however, the exposure risk is much greater.
Most people are not used to having to think about the security of their own PC’s and so here are some things that you can do to keep yourself safe :
1) If you are working for a company from home, always remain within the specific VPN (network connection), that they have provided. If you work offline, or directly with your own home internet connection to send emails to and from work, you are by-passing the company security procedures. A good habit is to connect to the VPN network before you do anything else.
2) Make sure that any information that is shared between you and colleagues is encrypted and password protected. Do not send any un-encrypted documents via email.
3) Make sure that you follow any processes and rules as outlined by the IT department; they are there to protect you.
4) Only use reputable video-conferencing software; ask your IT department for the applications they recommend.
If you are worried about security for employees working remotely or need to set up remote working for your business quickly then give Cloudworks a call. We are specialists in cyber-security, cloud technologies and support. In addition, we continuously monitor our clients IT cloud infrastructure to ensure they are secure and protected against the latest threats. Give us a call to find out more and we will find the best strategy and solution to fit your business.
Call us on 0115 824 8244 or email email@example.com