The Dangers of Working Remotely

The Dangers of Working Remotely

With remote workers reaching unprecedented levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening Wi-Fi access points and the devices that access them is becoming a necessity. Unfortunately, very little thought has been given to Wi-Fi in the security landscape leaving many people vulnerable to hackers. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were using public Wi-Fi for collaborating with co-workers, outside suppliers and customers, along with friends. What made public Wi-Fi so useful was that it was widely available and, more importantly, free. As of last year, there were a total of 362 million public Wi-Fi hotspots available around the globe.

Know the types of Wi-Fi attacks to watch out for.

Man-in-the-middle

The most often used attack for WIFI is called Man-in-the-middle. Hackers use Man-in-the-middle to intercept data packets as they travel from the person’s computer to the WIFI network. Think of this as cyber-eaves dropping. The hacker has access to your files and can view your messages. For a man-in-the-middle attack to work, the hacker needs to be in the range of an unencrypted WIFI access point. Or has set up a rogue WIFI access point that the unsuspecting person signs in on.

Evil Twin

Do you ever go into a Starbucks to work? You check for free WIFI, and you see two Starbucks access points available. You don’t give it a second thought and click on the wrong one. Well, that’s an Evil Twin situation, were the access point that looks legitimate, but isn’t.

One of the more famous Evil Twin attacks happened during the 2016 Republican National Convention, where 1,200 attendees connected to the IVOTETRUMP! Hotspot.

AirCrack, Passive Sniffing, Cowpathy and many more…

To prevent remote workers from these types of attack methods, what’s needed is to look at security more holistically. Many people, especially during this unique time, are unaware of the risks of using unsecured Wi-Fi. The organizations that these people work for also fail to take the proper precautions to protect remote workers wherever they are located and the data they access.

Ways to Protect Your Data

  • VPN
  • Secured Wi-Fi As-a-Service
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Firewalls (Virtual / Physical)
  • SIEM (Security Information & Event Management)

Organizations need to think of the whole picture instead of letting their deployed devices out in the wild. Data should be protected behind a Firewall, the devices accessing the data should be monitored and protected with endpoint protection. Instead of installing an access point and walking away, think of WIFI-as-a-Service, that includes a wireless access point but does much more such as advanced security information and event analysis, real live threat detection and remediation.

Each step taken builds upon your organization’s security posture and keeps both your users and your data safe and secure.

Rise in Remote Work Targeted Attacks

Rise in Remote Work Targeted Attacks

Google released a stat this week that 39% of its workforce is away from its various offices in the U.S. In Canada, its 44%. Also, this week, research firm Gartner Inc. reported that 88% of organizations have set up some work from home program.

Many organizations had little or no plans for securing these workers at home previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created an opportunity for threat actors to target these people. Most of these individuals are focused on trying to be productive, while self-isolating to remain safe and healthy. For many, this new work-at-home reality has been challenging. The hacker community is taking advantage of this crisis to target vulnerable people who have their minds distracted by things at home.

Hackers are finding success using hidden mobile apps and unique distribution methods, according to the latest McAfee Mobile Threat Report 2020. The report found that mobile apps, third-party login and counterfeit gaming videos are the tools hackers are using to lure remote workers. Approximately 50% of all malicious threats were as a result of hidden mobile apps.

Terry Hicks, the executive vice president of McAfee’s Consumer Business Group, said mobile threats are playing a game of ‘hide and seek.’ McAfee has uncovered that hackers have expanded the ways of hiding their attacks, making them increasingly difficult to identify and remove, which makes it seem like 2020 will be the year of attacks from places organizations least expect them.

McAfee’s research found that hidden apps are the most active mobile threat, generating nearly 50% of all malicious activities. Hackers continue to target people through channels that they spend the most time on— their devices, as the average person globally is expected to own 15 connected devices by 2030. Hidden apps take advantage of unsuspecting individuals in multiple ways, including taking advantage of third-party login services or serving unwanted ads. Here are a few examples.

Malicious Apps

Remote workers who are learning how to work from home are dealing with gaps in there day that they occupy by playing games and seeking other multimedia experiences. Hackers are taking advantage of this by distributing malicious apps through links in gamer chat apps and cheat videos by creating their content containing links to fake apps. These apps disguise themselves as real with icons that closely simulate the actual apps but serve unwanted ads and collect user data. McAfee researchers uncovered apps such as FaceApp, Spotify, and Call of Duty all have fake versions trying to prey on unsuspecting users.

New Mobile Malware

McAfee researchers have also discovered new mobile malware called LeifAccess, also known as Shopper. This malware takes advantage of the accessibility features in Android to create accounts, download apps, and post reviews using names and emails configured on the victim’s device. McAfee researchers observed apps based on LeifAccess being distributed through social media, gaming platforms, malvertising, and gamer chat apps. Fake warnings are used to get the user to activate accessibility services, enabling the full range of the malware’s capabilities.

Legitimate Apps Used by Hackers

There are also legitimate apps aimed at stealing data used by Hackers. McAfee researchers found that a series of South Korean transit apps were compromised with a fake library and plugin that could exfiltrate confidential files called MalBus. The attack was hidden in a legitimate South Korean transit app by hacking the original developer’s Google Play account. The series provides a range of information for each region of South Korea, such as bus stop locations, route maps, and schedule times for more than five years. MalBus represents a different attack method as hackers went after the account of a legitimate developer of a popular app with a solid reputation.

What’s clear is that with so many more remote workers in play, hackers will have a bigger pool of people to target, which is why a comprehensive suite of security, backup, and management solutions for those who use Office 365 is an excellent route to protecting these users.

During this time of COVID-19, people need to protect their email with powerful tools that can scan the email tenant for phishing and malware. Not only do they need tools to look for the usual suspects but also advanced AI systems and tools such as a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system. These tools find suspicious or malicious events and have an extra layer of security by having real human beings that can take action and remediate potential security threats.Services such as Secure IT – Mail are able to fulfil the needs of keeping users secure while working remote.

5 Productivity Tips for Working at Home

5 Productivity Tips for Working at Home

The current COVID-19 situation has led to a lot of organizations to shift their entire workforce to work remotely. For some organizations, this means that employees may be working remotely for the first time. Working remotely changes the way teams interact and work together and staying productive can be difficult in these circumstances. Here are five best practices for keeping teams on task and fostering collaboration as teams work remotely.

1. Use A Reliable Platform

Solely relying on email to communicate with your remote workforce is ineffective. Users may receive many emails per day and miss important messages. Being able to communicate via web chat, phone call or video conferencing makes it easier and faster for users to talk to one another. It also allows users to easily share documents/their work and receive feedback in real-time.

2. Meet Regularly

Staying connected with employees is essential, especially if your team usually sees each other every day. Scheduling meetings (via video call or phone chat) to communicate throughout the day is a great way to stay engaged and keep one another updated on completed/ongoing tasks and goals.

3. Support Employees

Employees who are not used to working remotely may be struggling with the shift. The added social isolation and overarching health concern may also cause employees additional stress or anxiety. It’s important to check in with employees, listen to their concerns and empathize with their situations. If your organization offers an employee assistance program (EAP), remind employees that they have access to this additional support.

4. Stay Accessible

When working apart, users will need to communicate with one another more often. Unlike an office setting where employees can pop by your desk/office, employees have no idea whether you’re out to lunch or in a meeting. Leaving your calendar open or having a status notification displayed will inform employees of your availability. That way, they know if you’re too busy to respond to their query.

5. Prioritize Tasks

Help employees focus on their initiatives by providing direction on how they should engage with their current priorities. Discuss with each team member individually on where each person should direct their focus and ensure they know which tasks should be a priority. If you can narrow down their tasks, they will feel less overwhelmed and be able to direct their attention to the most critical projects.

For more tips and resources, we’ll be releasing our resource center soon!

Creating a People-Centric Security Strategy

Creating a People-Centric Security Strategy

When it comes to remote working, who’s responsible for security? According to research from Capita, approximately 90 per cent of employees believe it’s their employer’s responsibility to ensure IT security when working remotely. While organizations must ensure they are implementing proper security controls for their users, employees must also be accountable for their actions and how they contribute to an organization’s security. A combination of security tools and user awareness is necessary for organizations to increase their security posture. With an organization’s workforce so spread out, employees need to be more engaged with security. Implementing a people-centric security strategy will empower employees and make them feel more involved. 

people centric security strategy

Source: ZDNet

Why Make Your Security Strategy People-Centric?

An effective security strategy has clearly defined policies and procedures and outlines roles and responsibilities for members of an organization. A people centric approach acknowledges the role employees play in an organization’s overall security posture and creates a culture of cybersecurity designed to change employee behaviour and encourage employees to think with a security mindset.

3 Ways to Adopt a People-Centric Security Strategy  

1. Asses User Risk

Start by establishing a baseline of user risk. This can be done by testing employees with simulated phishing tests. Simulated phishing tests enable users to experience real life phishing attacks in a safe environment. It records users who click on phishing links and sends them to remedial training to strengthen their responses. Simulated phishing tests give organizations an idea of how many users are susceptible to these kinds of attacks and can help them determine their vulnerability level so they can implement better security controls moving forward. 

Exposing users to phishing attacks reminds them to inspect their emails more carefully and teaches them how to spot these kinds of attacks. Simulated phishing tests should be done more than once so that organizations can track user progress over time. With phishing being the most common type of cyber attack, it’s important that users strengthen user reactions to these kinds of attacks. 

2. Hold Users Accountable

Employees must be willing to be accountable and take personal responsibility for their actions. To encourage accountability, organizations should implement an end user security policy that employees must read and sign-off on.

Your end user security policy should review security best practices you expect every employee to follow. Such actions can include locking screens, using strong passwords and implementing multi factor authentication. You should explicitly outline consequences of misuse and hold users responsible if they violate the policy. Ensure your policy is simple and easy to read so that employees understand your security policy.

3. Provide Access to Resources

Motivate and engage users to take responsibility for security by providing them access to high quality resources like security awareness training. Online security awareness training is a great way for users to learn about various cybersecurity topics at their own pace. New methods of online training like gamification and online quizzes make training more fun for users and helps them be more attentive in retaining information.  

Access to other online resources like infographics, cyber tips or news articles gives employees tools they can use to refer to and refresh their memory. If users understand how cyber threats like phishing and social engineering affect their lives both at work and at home, they will feel more connected to the issue.  

Jolera’s Secure IT User Defence solution is designed to empower your employees to be the first line of defence. The solution includes simulated phishing tests, online cyber awareness training and credential monitoring. For more information on how Jolera can protect your organization, contact us today. 

Threats of the Week – March 30, 2020

Threats of the Week – March 30, 2020

Tekya Malware

A new malware family has been discovered operating in 56 Google Play applications, which have collectively been downloaded nearly one million times around the world. Dubbed “Tekya,” the malware aims to commit mobile ad fraud by imitating user actions to click advertisements.

Source: DarkReading

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Tekya malware and similar threats. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

CVE-2020-3808

Adobe has released a security update for the Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Application for Windows. This update addresses a critical vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary file deletion.

Source: Adobe

How do you protect yourself?

Update Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Application to the latest software version.

Milum RAT

Malware that shows no similarities with samples used in known campaigns is currently used to attack computers in various organizations.

The malware is a fully-developed trojan with “solid capabilities for remote device management” of a compromised host.

Source: BleepingComputer

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Milum RAT and similar threats. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

Working Remotely and Staying Secure During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Working Remotely and Staying Secure During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As the threat of COVID-19 continues to spread, many businesses are having employees work remotely. The rise of online working means that an organization’s attack surface will be more spread out. Employees may not have the same protections installed on their personal devices at home as they do on their workstations in the office. Without proper security precautions in place, users increase their risk to cyber threats like malware and phishing. It’s important to remind employees that although they may be working from home, they are still expected to engage in safe cyber habits and safeguard corporate data.

Attacks are Increasing

Cybercriminals are exploiting people’s fears by sending phishing emails about COVID-19. These emails impersonate official health departments and claim to have new information/updates about the virus. They are designed with the hopes of tricking users into downloading malicious attachments or giving up personal information. In one other instance, cybercriminals duped a popular interactive world map that displayed confirmed cases of COVID-19 to spread malware.

People who aren’t used to working at home can get distracted, especially if they are accustomed to going into an office everyday to work. They may mix personal browsing with their work and encounter cyber scams related to COVID-19. In their distraction, they may accidentally click on malicious links. Users may also feel safer while working at home and let their guard down when it comes to working online. They can forget to engage in simple cyber safe behaviours like locking their computer or double-checking URLs before they click on them.

The Security Challenges of Remote Working

Working remotely can create a lot of security challenges for organizations. Users who are not prepared to work remotely may have to use their personal devices to access corporate material. These devices may not be secured or have the latest updates installed. Users can end up engaging with malicious websites that would usually be blocked by an organization’s firewall or leave their devices open to vulnerabilities.

Users working from home may also be connected to networks that are not secured. Although users may not be working from public spaces (with public WiFi) during this time, home networks may not be properly secured either. Furthermore, employees may have insecure IoT devices (such as lights, refrigerators, etc.) connected to the home network. Each of these devices could be a potential entry point for hackers. 

What You Can Do

Inform and Update Employees

Many people are stressed out and worried about how COVID-19 will affect them. Keep your employees informed about how their work is being impacted by the current outbreak and provide them with links to official sources (government, WHO, etc.) to ensure that they can keep themselves informed safely.

Reiterate Good Cybersecurity Practices

Awareness is the only way to combat phishing and social engineering scams. Employees must understand that they still have a responsibility to keep company data safe even though they are working from home. Remind employees to be careful of suspicious emails, especially those claiming to be about the virus. If they receive any suspicious emails, employees should disregard them and not engage. Encourage employees to not click on any links or download any attachments. They should always double check sender email addresses and any URLs they may encounter.

Issue Corporate Devices

To ensure employees have access to necessary resources required for their work, employees should be given company issued devices. This will make it easier for your organization to manage and monitor your remote systems and ensure that company data is separate from a user’s personal data. It will also ensure that all devices have security tools installed (e.g. anti-virus, encryption tools, etc.).

Use a VPN

A VPN will provide employees with a secure connection to your organization’s network. All employees should use a VPN to access company resources, especially if they are using personal devices. Ensure that your VPN is set up to support your entire remote workforce and that it is up to date.

Our Support IT platform can assist your organization in providing employees secure remote access to essential tools and systems. For more information on how Jolera can help with your remote working environment, contact us today.