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The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on workplaces. Many companies are encouraging their employees to work from home. But this move creates a major risk- cybersecurity.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, cyber-attacks cost the U.S economy and small businesses about $2.7 billion in 2018 alone. Cybercriminals tend to target small businesses because they don’t have cutting-edge security infrastructures like big companies.

Experts warn that these attacks could get worse now that most employees are working from home. And even giant companies and big organizations are not spared. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a two-fold increase in cyber-attacks amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, most companies are not giving cybersecurity the attention it deserves right now. Everyone is prioritizing continued operations and safety. And elite cybercriminals know it’s the perfect time to launch attacks. If you’re wondering why, read on.

Widened Attack Surfaces

When one employee connects to their company network from home, they create potential access points for cybercriminals to exploit. So if you have many employees who do this many times a day, it can be an uphill task to ensure every connection is secure.

The attack surface is widened even more if employees use their own devices for work. Each device introduced new operating systems and platforms that need their dedicated support. And when numerous devices are used, the chances of hackers breaking into some of them increase significantly.

Lack Of Authentication And Verification

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the most effective defenses against cyber-attacks. And now that employees are not seeing each other, businesses that don’t have monitoring access points and two-factor authentication are more exposed to cyber-attacks than companies that use them.

Increased Phishing And Malware

Employees expect a lot of emails and online requests while working from home. And hackers are more likely to also take advantage of the fact that most people want new information about coronavirus. They might send your employees offers related to the virus or urgent instructions to get them to download malware and access company systems.

Now that you know how cyber-attacks might be unleashed, let’s look at what you and your employees can do to stay safe.

What Employees Can Do To Prevent Cyber Attacks

  • Be Extra Careful About Phishing Emails: Enable multifactor authentication on every account you control to prevent hackers from accessing them. And if you have any doubts about the validity of an email from the company, don’t hesitate to ask before taking any requested action.
  • Observe Good Cyber Practices: Ensure the anti-virus protection on all your devices (computers, laptops, smartphones, and internal router) are up to date. Use secure connections and avoid using Bluetooth in public places.
  • Use Secure WiFi: Only access your corporate network using secure and password-protected WiFi. Also, avoid accessing sensitive information from public WiFi. And if you must use one, please verify from the owner that their WiFi is legit and password-secured.

What Employers Can Do To Prevent Cyber Attacks

  • Set Up Remote Access On Time: Before an office closure, assign remote access to your employees. It can be extremely difficult to install the technology and issue multifactor authenticator codes to employees they’re not physically present.
  • Remind Your Employees To Use Company-Issued Laptops: As mentioned earlier, using personal computers to connect to corporate networks create problems and increases the risk of getting hacked. Therefore, remind your employees to avoid using them while working from home.
  • Create Emergency Contact Line: Make sure you create an “out of band” contact that you can use to reach your employees. That way, if you fall victim, you can communicate with your employees.

As government agencies, organizations and businesses encourage their employees to work from home to prevent coronavirus from spreading, cyber-security teams are more likely to face security challenges. The best way to combat this challenge is to prepare your employees and your infrastructure.  For more information, please contact Insure Your Company.