6 Tips to Return to Work Safely

6 Tips to Return to Work Safely

The curve may not be flat, but at many levels of government both in Canada and around the world, discussions about restarting the economy and reopening businesses are beginning. Strategies are starting to develop that will see people eventually get back to the office, stores, factories and other workplace locations they are used to going to for work.

As the new guidelines are developing, expect to see social or physical distancing and other forms of protective measures becoming a significant part of any get-back-to-work program.

What will these types of programs look like for organizations?

How can an individual who has spent the better part of March and all of April indoors begin to ready themselves for a return? Some clues can be found in the way other countries are dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdown.

Austria

In Austria, the aim was to start small and build from there. The European country only had small shops of 400 square meters open at first. These openings were under guard for security. Masks were mandated in these shops and on public transport. If the Austrian restart went well, then the country would look to open hotels, shopping malls and restaurants in two weeks.

Denmark

Meanwhile, in Denmark, that country embarked on a more conservative staggered approach. What they wanted to do was avoid overcrowding in public areas and on public transit. The staggered approach also means people will be going back to work slowly and in different sections of the economy. Again, this is to avoid any mass gatherings.

Ontario, Canada

The province of Ontario recently released its guide called “A Framework for Reopening the Province.” In this guide, the Government of Ontario’s goals are slightly different than those of Austria and Denmark. The Government of Ontario framework has the same overall priority, which is to protect the health and well-being of all its citizens. Ontario will have a focus on supporting healthcare workers, essential workers and businesses who have been working throughout the lockdown. Ontario will also have a staggered reopening approach, which will have three phases and between a two-to-four week evaluation period for each. You can read more about Ontario’s plan to reopen the province by clicking here.

Here are some tips to get yourself ready

1. Self-diagnose

Physically going back to work should start with you. Do your self-assessment to see if you are well enough to venture back to the office, shop or factory floor. If you are sick or not at 100 percent, inform your manager or company human resources professional and stay at home. Chances are you have not been tested for the Coronavirus. And, more than likely do not have the virus, but coming in with the sniffles will not lead to co-worker confidence in that the workplace is safe. Do your self-check, and don’t take any chances.

2. Spacious and clean work areas

Social distancing will continue in the workplace. Expect to be two metres or six feet from the next person. This will impact the lunchrooms and company lounges across the country. Don’t be surprised if they are closed off entirely. Expect to get staggered lunchtimes for employees and capacity levels, similar to what supermarkets are doing today. If you are in operations, it might be a good idea to review the current floor plan. Also, don’t be surprised to see shift cycles of being at home and work in workplaces with limited space. This means you might be working in the office on Monday but at home Tuesday. And, you will be asked to clean your area before you leave for the day thoroughly. And, if you keep a photo of your kids at your workstation, you may be asked to remove it. Overall work environment cleaning will increase dramatically and may occur during the workday.

3. Call ahead in-person meetings

Many great ideas got started around the water-cooler. Water cooler collaboration will not return immediately. And, the water-cooler may not even be available when you return. At least not right away. If you have a thought that you want to share with a co-worker, you’ll be asked to give that person a heads up electronically either via email or some other collaboration app before you walk over to that other person’s work area to brainstorm if allowed at all.

4. Workplace shifts

Government-imposed mandates on limiting the number of people in groups will have its place in any return to work policy. Get ready to have more Teams, Zoom, and WebEx sessions, while you are at the office. Do not be alarmed if your favourite co-worker is not at work when you arrive. There might be a return to work order where you will be placed in a shift. There will be several situations that arise where an individual will feel unsure of themselves returning to work after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Employers will have very little choice but to accommodate them, especially early on.

5. Conference room capacity

Meeting rooms will have capacity limits. Those limits will be posted on the door. You may be asked to join a meeting inside your own office via a Teams, Zoom or WebEx session. If you do use the room, you will be asked to clean the room and wipe it down immediately afterwards. This will pose a unique challenge to in-person meetings with guests, and you may need to co-ordinate more online sessions. What could lead to an awkward situation is having guests go through a temperature scanner before they enter the boardroom. If your company or organization currently does not have any video conference technology, you may have to invest in a solution to have the use of meeting rooms.

6. Proper hand hygiene

Don’t be surprised to see several hand sanitization stations throughout your workplace, especially at entrances. Also, your organization will ask you to sanitize your hands before entering any area of the office, factory floor or retail space. Currently, people are wearing gloves to go to the supermarket. Gloves may not be appropriate for your working environment, but you can envision a situation where you may have to ask patrons or guests of your workplace to sanitize their hands before entering.

As you prepare yourself for a physical return to your previous workplace, do not expect the old norm, we’ll have to adjust to a new norm. As with all these decisions, organizations must take, they must be cautious and well thought out to protect the health and safety of their employees. Here at Jolera, we’re here to help with any concerns about organizing your company’s return to work. You can contact us anytime, and we hope you are staying safe and healthy.

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.

Threats of the Week – April 13, 2020

Threats of the Week – April 13, 2020

CoViper

Researchers have identified a new COVID-19 themed malware. This malware rewrites the Master Boot Record (MBR), rendering the device non-functional until the MBR can be reinstalled.

Source: SonicWall

How do you protect yourself?

Avoiding malware like CoViper should begin with user training and awareness; employees must know how to identify suspicious emails and attachments, as this is a likely mechanism for delivering malware of this kind. Organizations may sign up for automated programs such as Secure IT – User Defence to train their employees.

Avast Emulator

The emulator that loads the low-level antivirus engine was found to run unsandboxed, thus potentially exposing systems to attackers.

Source: Security Week

How do you protect yourself?

Avast has since patched the vulnerability, and it is suggested all users update to the latest version to ensure their devices are secure.

Netwalker Ransomware

Netwalker is ransomware formerly called Mailto that has become active recently. The new phishing campaign is using an attachment that contains an embedded Netwalker Ransomware executable. Once executed, the ransomware will encrypt the files on the computer and append a random extension to encrypted file names.

Source: Bleeping Computer

How do you protect yourself?

You should always have your organization’s email protected from phishing and malicious attachments. Ensure your email is protected with comprehensive security solutions, for example, Secure IT – Mail.

Threats of the Week – April 13, 2020

Threats of the Week – April 6, 2020

Firefox Vulnerabilities

CVE-2020-6819 and CVE-2020-6820 allowed unauthenticated attackers to trick potential victims into visiting a maliciously crafted website to be able to execute arbitrary code on devices running unpatched versions of Firefox.

Source: Bleeping Computer

How do you protect yourself?

All users who use Firefox should install the latest version of Firefox 74.01, which has been patched. Mozilla released Firefox 74.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.6.1 earlier to address these two critical vulnerabilities that were actively used by threat actors against vulnerable machines. 

CVE-2020-11548

The Search Meter plugin for WordPress through the latest version 2.13.2 allows user input within the search bar to become a formula. The attacker can achieve remote code execution via this method.

Source: National Vulnerability Database

How do you protect yourself?

This plugin hasn’t been updated for the last three major releases of WordPress, and it is advised you deactivate the plugin right away and look for alternative solutions.

Fake Zoom installers

Threat actors have distributed several different versions of Zoom client installers, which look legitimate, however, now officially from Zoom. These clients are bundled with malware such as Coinminers, Remote Access Trojans, and Adware Bundles.

Source: Bleeping Computer

How do you protect yourself?

You should always install software from the vendor directly to prevent accidentally using fake installers. If a fake installer is downloaded, ensure your computer is protected with endpoint protection, for example, Secure IT – Endpoint.

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. 

How AI and SOC Protect Organizations

How AI and SOC Protect Organizations

Keeping up with the evolving threat landscape is difficult and organizations face several challenges such as the cyber skills shortage and managing the security tools in their infrastructure. The more security tools an organization implements, the more security alerts a security operations centre (SOC) has to investigate. Each of these security alerts need to be analyzed, investigated and remediated. However, research from the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) found that 26% of security alerts are false positives. To eliminate the number of false positives and keep up with attackers, combining artificial intelligence tools with a SOC’s expertise is crucial.

AI SOC

Source: ZDNet

Improving Threat Intelligence and Detection

The longer a threat goes undetected, the more damage can be inflicted. Hackers have more time to steal sensitive data or gather intelligence for future attacks. Detecting a threat as soon as possible is crucial in reducing the impact of a breach. However, threats are constantly evolving, and new vulnerabilities and attack vectors are being discovered daily.

To effectively detect threats, security analysts must have access to the latest threat intelligence data. This can be done through threat intelligence feeds. Threat intelligence feeds provide information on cyber threats and risks, which gives security analysts a real time view of the external threat landscape. Threat intelligence feeds are usually integrated with a tool like security information and event management (SIEM), which has AI capabilities. Since SIEM analyzes data from all the devices in a network and correlates that information with data from threat intelligence feeds, it can identify potential threats more quickly. The data from threat intelligence feeds provide security analysts with context to inform their decisions for responding to threats. This enables them to respond more quickly and do their work more efficiently.

Increased Productivity

Investigating several security alerts per day can burden a SOC team. The number of alerts makes it difficult for security analysts to prioritize alerts to investigate, which can allow critical alerts to slip through. Furthermore, dealing with false positives makes it harder for analysts. False positives are alerts that indicate a threat is happening when in reality there is no threat. Dealing with false positives can slow down an analyst’s ability to determine threats, which can also lead them to miss real critical alerts.

Manually investigating security incidents is a time-consuming process. Security analysts have to collect information from the network and correlate that information to gain context and determine the severity of an incident. SIEM makes it easier for security analysts to investigate threats. SIEM automates the process of gathering information and consolidating and analyzing data. When critical security alerts are identified, a security analyst is notified and will start investigating the issue. Leveraging artificial intelligence ensures that analyst skills are being used to identify real and serious threats and reduces the number of false positives they encounter.

Using a Hybrid Intelligence Platform

Implementing a SOC in-house is an expensive investment. The cost of hiring security personnel, buying security tools and licenses and paying for continued security training can end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Furthermore, the cybersecurity skills shortage makes it more difficult for organizations to find qualified applicants. Fortunately, organizations can outsource a SOC to a service provider like Jolera to ensure their organization is protected.

Jolera combines the security expertise of a SOC with intelligent analytics from SIEM through its hybrid intelligence platform. Under our hybrid intelligence platform, human and machine intelligence merge with proprietary technology to help manage and secure an organization’s environment. Our SIEM system picks up emerging threats and eliminates false positives while our security analysts investigate and remediate security incidents. We then generate a report on an organization’s infrastructure allow you to gain actionable insights to help guide their security posture and investments. For more information on our hybrid intelligence platform, contact us today.