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The cybersecurity risks of working from home

13 December, 2021

There are few aspects of our society that haven’t been directly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and businesses are no different, with the vast majority forced into a quick transition towards working from home measures, to protect their staff during these uncertain times.

The changes haven’t been temporary, either. Gov UK found that at the beginning of November 2021, some 67% of adults reported travelling to work daily, suggesting that a proportion of the remaining 33% are continuing to work from home.

Cybersecurity and threats to organisations have been severely impacted. Switzerland reported an increase in cybersecurity attacks at the beginning of the pandemic. Statistics showed that there were more than 350 cybersecurity attacks per week in April 2020, compared to 100-150 attacks throughout the same period in 2019.

Indeed, 2021 has seen a record number of cyber incidents recorded by the NCSC. But what’s been causing the rise in attacks?

Cybersecurity and the coronavirus

A spokesperson from Kaspersky cybersecurity lab in Switzerland stated that the working from home situation in the country was one of the primary reasons for this increase, as the vast majority of employees did not have access to the level of security they would have had were they in the office.

In their annual survey series, Gov UK stated that having company personnel work from home made it more difficult for IT and cybersecurity departments to keep an eye on how files were being accessed, how often internet software was being updated and how frequently staff were trained to strengthen protection.

One area of significance was the introduction of virtual meetings on platforms such as Google and Zoom. Deloitte found that from February to May 2020, more than half a million people reported their personal data being sold on the dark web as a result of their video meetings being hacked. This change in the way people’s data was being stolen is not surprising, with Deloitte also recording a 15% increase in the new methods hackers were using to attack software and steal data.

However, official statistics from Gov UK shows that in 2021, there has been a decrease in the reporting of cybersecurity attacks. Whilst this may seem positive, it is in fact very concerning. The government warns that instead of a decrease in attacks occurring, there is a decrease in companies realising they have been breached.

So, why is this happening?

Worryingly, there is a 10% decrease in the number of organisations using third-party cybersecurity tools, and a 6% decrease in organisations using any form of cybersecurity monitoring.

The real threat, however, comes from a lack of training deployed to teams. Cybersecurity awareness training is often the forgotten central pillar to any successful cyber-attack mitigation strategy. The importance of cybersecurity awareness cannot be overstated in 2022.

An astonishing 90% of successful breaches begin with simple human error, and with our teams at the heart of our organisations, it’s imperative that your teams are trained to spot and stop attacks.

Don't make the mistake of ignoring cybersecurity threats. Let us empower your staff to protect your business! View our range of courses that can help protect your employees, including one designed for those working from home.

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