Since the new coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, many people across the country and around the world have had to adapt to working remotely from their homes. While this allows employees to continue their ongoing projects and tasks from the safety of their own living spaces, fraud and cybersecurity concerns have mounted as fraudsters find themselves in a target-rich environment for many different cybercrimes. Knowing how to navigate these concerns in order to continue working in a safe environment both physically and digitally can help to keep businesses and their employees protected.
Cybersecurity Weaknesses in Remote Workspaces
Long before the ongoing pandemic, instances of fraud and cybercrime were a top concern for many businesses. Everything from fraudulent emails to the use of stolen credit cards and phishing schemes has been utilized to gain access to confidential and protected personal and business information. As many workers now virtually work from home, business transactions and dealings have become completely digital, leaving many companies susceptible to a myriad of different cybercrimes.
As we work on our personal devices, it’s important to note most people’s personal computers, smartphones, and other devices are typically not very secure. On the other hand, most devices used in the workplace are made secure by an IT department or outsourced provider. Without maintaining various software patches and/or having access to a virtual private network (VPN), important company data can still be intercepted online.
Navigating Potential Cybersecurity Concerns
Although the consequences of having poorly secured data when working from home can severely impact businesses and their employees, implementing and maintaining the following safety steps can help ensure increased security:
- Update Network Security: While security updates should be conducted regularly, making sure all company devices remain up-to-date with the most current security patches and upgrades can help keep data secure. Different software and hardware components – such as operating systems, antivirus and malware programs, and routers – should be protected, as they are often the first and last defenses against external threats.
- Avoid Phishing Emails: As with any disaster that wreaks havoc on many, COVID-19 has resulted in a slew of phishing email schemes aiming to gain access to sensitive data by posing as pandemic assistance or new business opportunities. In most cases, these emails are unsuspecting and typically appear to be sent by the CEO or someone of importance at the company. Do not click on any links or attachments within the email until the sender’s address can be verified. Links embedded in fraudulent emails can automatically install malware onto company devices, immediately compromising your information and security in the process. Look for phishing emails to contain poor grammar, odd-looking email addresses, generic greetings, and/or changes of tone that do not match the sender’s usual communication verbiage.
- Use Multifactor Authentication: No matter how secure business passwords seem to be, skilled hackers can easily crack them. While remembering to change these passwords on an ongoing basis can help maintain some security, enabling multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection. Fingerprints, facial recognition, access codes sent to a phone or email, and other such methods are all forms of multifactor identification.
Houston Commercial Litigation Attorneys
The life-changing impacts of COVID-19 have left many business owners grappling with economic uncertainty and how to continue operations safely from home. At Feldman & Feldman, we understand that the security of your business is crucial during this difficult time. If your business is facing a dispute or is in need of commercial litigation assistance, contact us today to discuss your needs.