By Martin Roesler (Trend Micro Research)
The current workplace reality is that, in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many companies around the globe have rolled out work-from-home arrangements. As a result, there has been an influx of employees signing in remotely to corporate networks and using cloud-based applications. But this shift could also open doors to security risks and cyberthreats.
In one of our security predictions for 2020, we discussed how organizations would have to be wary of risks introduced by work-from-home arrangements and connected home devices. Blurring the lines in enterprise security, remote devices could be infected and serve as launch points for supply chain attacks.
Security teams and home office users, however, can minimize the risks that come with remote-working setups. Below are some practical security measures that can be applied to this end.
Security teams can find more considerations for their company policies in the SANS Institute’s guide to securely transitioning to work from home.
There are measures you can take to avoid getting duped. For one thing, be wary of telltale signs of phishing scams: unknown senders, glaring grammatical errors, mismatched URLs, and outlandish stories. Do not provide your identifiable information such as personal details and bank account information. Immediately alert your organization if you received such attempts to help others spot the scams.
Restrict user accounts on the router to two: A super-user account used only for setup and configuration (local account, not remote-enabled), and a personal account that is the default user allowed to manage the router (also local account, not remote-enabled). You, or somebody else in your family who is tech-savvy, can also do a port scan on your router’s IP address; if this is not possible, you may check your IP address on Shodan. Many routers also allow the automatic addition of new devices for convenience, but this feature should be disabled and unknown connected devices should be removed from the router configuration.
As a safety net, you may also consider a backup internet connection by way of a router that supports LTE in case your normal ISP line goes down. The tethering or personal hotspot function of your smartphone can also work as a connectivity backup.
Setting up a secure remote-working environment is not an overnight job. It requires considerable effort from all people involved, especially in the case of those who are new to telecommuting. The measures laid out here should help companies and employees ease the burden and effectively protect work-from-home setups from cyberthreats.
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