Reducing Security Risks When Your Workforce is Remote

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Since COVID-19 transformed our world and revolutionized the trend towards remote working, many of your employees may be working at home at least some of the time. Has your business security taken these remote workers into account? 

The reality is that most applications are now cloud-based and can be accessed wherever and however your employees choose: smartphones, tablets, or laptops. But however your employees are accessing the applications they need in their day-to-day work environment, they may be operating outside the safe parameters of your normal security apparatus. That could expose your company to potentially cataclysmic cyberthreats. 

Here are some potential ways you can reduce your company’s security risks for your remote employees: 

Make sure to use protected access and strong passwords

Does your company use multi-factor authentication (MFA)? If not, now is a good time to consider it. MFA requires that your employees use at least two identity credentials to get access to your company’s applications. 

Another easy thing to do to add additional layers of security for your remote workforce is to encourage your employees to use strong passwords for their computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Strong passwords use at least 12 characters, including special characters (like #, @, and so on). Common and easily guessed passwords should not be used. 

Also, make sure your remote employees check their home routers, computers, and software to see if the latest versions and security patches have been installed. This helps prevent easy ways for hackers to infiltrate their systems, and gaining access to your confidential data. 

Establish safe ways to download and share files

One way that bad actors can infiltrate your network is to get your employees to download suspect applications or software that has malware or viruses embedded within them. Make it a priority to let your workforce know that they should never download or open any files that seem suspicious. If they’re not sure, they should always check first with your support or IT staff. 

Remind your employees that they should be extra careful when sharing confidential information with anyone outside the company. They should only use company-issued software for sharing files and communication. 

Be aware of phishing scams

Cybercriminals have doubled their attacks since the COVID-19 outbreak started, taking advantage of people’s fears and confusion via phishing emails that contain malware. 

Make sure your employees proceed with caution with opening any attachments to emails from senders they don’t recognize. Tell them to contact your security or IT team before opening any attachments that they deem potentially malicious. 

Communicate constantly

Keeping your confidential data protected is only as strong as your weakest link. Let your employees know security is everyone’s responsibility and it only works if everyone does their part. 

Keep your security protocols strong by opening numerous communication channels, letting your employees know about the latest threats and ways to protect themselves and your company. Include contacts that your employees can use if they should have any questions or problems arise. 

Use RemoteWorkForce VPN

The truth is that cyberattacks can happen to any business, regardless of company size or industry. A good rule of thumb is that if your business has a vulnerability, there will be a hacker interested in exploiting it. 

Companies that employ remote workers are coming to realize that the best way to protect their confidential, sensitive information is to invest in a strong, reliable business VPN. 

Not only does a business VPN protect you when accessing information from the Internet, but it also provides secure access to company resources and databases. A business VPN like RemoteWorkForce VPN can also securely connect your company’s branches worldwide. 

Want to complete your security posture for your remote employees? Then protect your business assets and get peace of mind with RemoteWorkForce VPN

The Risks of Wardrivers 

We tend to believe that our so-called “secure” WiFi networks, like the one you probably use at home, are totally safe. We only need to worry about public WiFi networks, right? 

But there are real dangers to your home WiFi networks, like the threat of wardrivers. Wardrivers use hardware and software to find WiFi signals in a particular area in order to find vulnerable networks with weak passwords. Once in, the attacker has total access to your sensitive information and can see everything you do online. 

A recent article found that nearly 70% of home WiFi network passwords were vulnerable to wardrivers

Sounds scary, huh? Although war driving is a real security threat, it doesn’t have to be a hazard to your home wireless network if you take steps to protect yourself. 

What Exactly is Wardriving? 

Wardriving is the process of physically searching for wireless networks with vulnerabilities from a moving vehicle and mapping the wireless access points. The person or persons doing the wardriving usually concentrate on WiFi signals within a particular area. 

Once they locate specific networks, wardrivers will record the location of vulnerable networks and then submit this to third-party websites and apps to create digital maps. 

The main reasons why wardrivers look for vulnerable WiFi networks is to steal your financial information, which includes your credit card numbers and your banking information. Another reason is to use your network for criminal activity. Sometimes, wardrivers are used by ethical hackers who want to improve network security. 

Wardriving can easily be done with an app on a smartphone. However, larger attacks can sometimes use intricate wardriving software, a GPS to find locations of wireless networks, and a computer or smartphone that has access to a wireless network. 

Surprisingly, Wardriving is Not Illegal

While it may seem that doing something like accessing secure wireless networks would be illegal, there are no laws that specifically prohibit or allow wardriving, though many localities have laws forbidding unauthorized access of computer networks and protecting personal privacy. 

Wardriving is less common today than it was 20 years ago, but the problem persists. Although ethical hackers are out there, we need to be more concerned with those trying to exploit weaknesses in our home WiFi networks to extract data or perform illegal activities.

How to Protect Yourself from Wardrivers

There are some common sense things we can do right now to our home WiFi networks to make sure we are not at risk of wardrivers. 

  • Update your router’s password: Our network is only as secure as our password, so make sure you change it regularly and use multi-factor authentication when available. 
  • Enable network encryption: Be sure to use the highest network security protocol available (WEP, WPA, and WPA2). Also, make sure your network is not open to anyone within range. 
  • Use a network firewall: Firewalls block certain kinds of unapproved communication and stop most attempts to access your network.
  • Make sure your system has the latest updates: Always install software updates immediately, including patches and security on your hardware and software. 
  •  Use a VPN: Most importantly, make sure you are using a VPN

The best way to protect your home WiFi network from wardrivers is to use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, which encrypts the data moving to and from all your devices that are connected to your home networks. The encryption protects all your Internet communication from being intercepted by others, even if they’ve cracked your router password and gained access to your networks. 

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Jared Howe

Jared Howe is PRIVATE WiFi’s Senior Manager, Product Marketing Communications. Working in high tech for over 15 years, Jared currently lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and their two cats.

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