Just because your team has gone remote doesn't mean you need to be vulnerable to hacks, breaches, and scams.
- Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, many enterprises had yet to contemplate a mass work-from-home scenario and were therefore unprepared to support it securely.
- There are practical steps you can take to safeguard confidentiality and cybersecurity with a WFH workforce.
- Applying best security practices to test for vulnerabilities, supervise access controls and password management, secure connections, and apply endpoint encryption can go a long way.
1. Set up a VPN for your employees.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkzMjAwNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzcxMTcxN30.a0RK7cVfupvPdbhMvIFUXr0G_yQ6-FHhDX0BkgeuT3w/img.jpg?width=980" id="1c63b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="605223fe03ac55182fc3ed7fb9d8eda3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="laptop with VPN installed" />
2. Be proactive about testing.<p>Ignorance can be your biggest danger. If you're used to dealing with a secure internal network, you won't always know where your vulnerabilities and weaknesses lie when it comes to remote access.</p><p>This kind of blindness can lead quickly to data breaches that you might not even be aware of until months after the event.</p><p>To resolve this issue, use tools like Cymulate's breach and attack simulation platform, which runs <a href="https://blog.cymulate.com/cyber-risk-assessment" target="_blank">simulated attacks across remote connections</a> to assess your cybersecurity risk levels. This can help you determine the extent to which your settings, defenses, policies, and processes are effective, and where you need to make changes in order to maintain a secure organization. </p>
3. Train (and retrain) to minimize human error.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkzMjAwNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTY0NjU4Nn0.O_SLWJo3PjU0m1dfm7daqmeKmgbf8URstNH18uCjEo8/img.jpg?width=980" id="20c7a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebb965d4cf3a21d1d10d34f7abe39c15" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="three people looking at computer monitors" />
4. Be strict about access control.<p>Access controls are a vital layer of security around your network. Losing track of who can access which platforms, data and tools means losing control of your security, and that can be disastrous. </p><p>Even in "normal" times, <a href="https://solutionsreview.com/identity-management/thycotic-releases-2018-global-state-privileged-access-management-pam-risk-compliance/" target="_blank">70 percent of enterprises</a> overlook issues surrounding privileged user accounts, which form unseen entrances to your organization. As the WFH situation drags on, it's even more likely that access controls will lag, opening up holes in your perimeter.</p><p>In response, <a href="https://www.imperva.com/learn/data-security/role-based-access-control-rbac/" target="_blank">use role-based access control (RBAC)</a> to allow access to specific users based on their responsibilities and authority levels in the organization. By monitoring and strategically restricting access controls, you can further reduce the risk that human error might undermine your careful cybersecurity arrangements.</p>
5. Use endpoint encryption on devices and apps.<p>Because most companies were not yet set up for remote work when the COVID-19 crisis hit, the lion's share of devices used to connect from new home offices are not owned or configured by employers. </p><p>And with employees more likely to use their own computers when working from home, endpoint attacks become even more serious. <a href="https://labs.sentinelone.com/threat-intel-update-cyber-attacks-leveraging-the-covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic/" target="_blank">SentinelOne</a>, an endpoint security platform, <a href="https://www.raconteur.net/technology/covid-19-cybersecurity" target="_blank">reported a 433 percent rise</a> in endpoint attacks from late February to mid-March. </p><p>Although it can seem difficult to secure endpoints when employees are working remotely, it is possible. <a href="https://www.sentrybay.com/" target="_blank">SentryBay's</a> endpoint application encryption solution takes a different approach, <a href="https://dwaterson.com/2020/03/02/protected-endpoint-applications-provide-common-security-posture-for-enterprise-cloud-ecosystems/" target="_blank">securing apps in their own "wrappers,"</a> as opposed to working on a device security level.</p>
6. Apply multi-factor authentication and strong passwords.<p>Finally, weak passwords are a known gift for hackers. The problem only grows when employees work from home, as the contextual shift makes it easier for them to ignore reminders from your security team. They are also more likely to share or save credentials for faster remote access when it takes time to get a response from a newly remote security team.</p><p>If you don't already use a password manager to force employees to generate strong passwords and avoid sharing or saving credentials, now is the time to begin. CyberArk Enterprise Password Vault requires users to update passwords regularly, enforces multi-factor authentication (MFA) to reduce the chances of hackers entering your network through stolen passwords, and provides auditing and control features so you can <a href="https://www.cyberark.com/products/privileged-account-security-solution/enterprise-password-vault/" target="_blank">track when someone uses</a> or misuses an account. </p><p>Consumer password managers like <a href="https://www.lastpass.com/" target="_blank">LastPass </a>and <a href="https://1password.com/" target="_blank">1Password </a>likewise offer business tiers with similar features.</p>
WFH doesn’t have to undermine network security<p>With enterprises unprepared for mass remote working, industries worldwide could face a security nightmare. However, applying best security practices and using advanced tools to test for vulnerabilities, supervise access controls and password management, secure connections, and apply endpoint encryption can go a long way.</p><p>Make sure your employees know your security policies will help harden your attack surface, improve your cybersecurity posture, and prevent COVID-19 from causing a cybersecurity plague. </p>
Video meetings on the popular platform don't seem to offer end-to-end encryption as advertised.
- Despite claims, Zoom's video and audio meetings don't support end-to-end encryption, according to a recent report from The Intercept.
- End-to-end encryption is an especially strong form of security that, in theory, scrambles online data so that it's decipherable only to the sender and receiver.
- Zoom also faces a class-action lawsuit after a Motherboard report showed how the platform passed on user data to third parties.
The Intercept<p>Speaking to The Intercept, a Zoom spokesperson described the platform's definition of "end to end":</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"When we use the phrase 'End to End' in our other literature, it is in reference to the connection being encrypted from Zoom end point to Zoom end point...The content is not decrypted as it transfers across the Zoom cloud."</p><p>Although Zoom might not decrypt data as it transfers across the platform's cloud, it certainly has the ability to do so. "They're a little bit fuzzy about what's end-to-end encrypted," Matthew Green, a cryptographer and computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, told <a href="https://theintercept.com/2020/03/31/zoom-meeting-encryption/" target="_blank">The Intercept</a>. "I think they're doing this in a slightly dishonest way. It would be nice if they just came clean."</p>
Other privacy concerns<p>Zoom is also facing criticism for passing user data on to third parties. Last week, <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7e599/zoom-ios-app-sends-data-to-facebook-even-if-you-dont-have-a-facebook-account" target="_blank">Motherboard published a report</a> showing that the Zoom iOS app was sharing user data with Facebook — even if Zoom users didn't have a Facebook account. On Monday, a Zoom user filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Upon installing or upon each opening of the Zoom App, Zoom collects the personal information of its users and discloses, without adequate notice or authorization, this personal information to third parties, including Facebook, Inc. ("Facebook"), invading the privacy of millions of users."</p><p>Looking for a video-conferencing platform that does offer end-to-end encryption? Consider looking into Microsoft Teams, Signal, Clickmeeting, and Wire.</p>
A new report from Bloomberg describes how Chinese subcontractors secretly inserted microchips into servers that wound up in data centers used by nearly 30 American companies.
- A 2015 security test of a server sold by an American company found that someone in the supply chain had successfully embedded a tiny microchip on a motherboard.
- The company that manufactured the compromised motherboard provides servers to hundreds of international clients, including NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.
- U.S. officials linked the hardware attack to a People's Liberation Army unit, though it's unclear what, if anything, hackers have done or to what they have access.
Hardware vs. software attacks<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODY5MTA2Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjA0NzU5OH0.0WPhdoBtJqiKm6MFdZZWNc2-K_1GZaCwXNTr9FiiTZE/img.jpg?width=980" id="9a81d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e423402a993b7c338d49bb1227679b9a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The size of the implanted microchip.