While remote work offers flexibility and new opportunities, it also presents cybersecurity challenges. As more organisations adopt remote and hybrid working practices, there’s an increase in access to sensitive data from various locations. This has caused targeted attacks to rise, often exploiting human emotions through tactics like phishing, pretexting, and baiting.
Social engineering attackers have used these tactics for a long time. These tactics work because they prey on human nature, manipulating it to gain unauthorised access to confidential information. Unfortunately, attacks are becoming more personalised and targeted, making it essential for every team to recognise these dangers and be prepared to fight against them.
Cybersecurity checklist for remote working
Very few people are IT experts, and many may not know where to start. However, following the advice of a cybersecurity checklist can help companies keep safe from cyber threats, even when employees are working remotely.
Education and awareness:
- recognise targeted attacks: regularly train staff to identify spear phishing, whaling, and other targeted attacks that exploit personal information.
- avoid unknown devices and baiting: educate employees not to plug unfamiliar devices like USBs into their systems. Highlight the risks of baiting, where malicious devices are left for workers to find.
- implement protocols against pretexting: establish protocols and code words to minimise risks from pretexters impersonating legitimate access holders, such as vendors or technical support.
- encourage caution with personal information: warn against sharing personal details that could be used in spear phishing campaigns.
- promote continuous education: emphasise that ongoing learning is the cornerstone of cybersecurity, especially in remote settings.
Implement protocols and leverage technology:
- use multi-factor authentication (MFA): employ MFA for connections and accounts for added security.
- restrict USB port usage: control access to USB ports or use alternatives that remove the need for physical devices.
- implement secure access features: use methods that ensure connection without passwords for stronger validation.
- leverage certificates: company-wide certificates, paired with trusted services that allow their implementation, provide easy and highly secure access.
Promote password best practices:
- encourage unique passwords: advocate for different passwords across various sites and services.
- recommend trusted password managers: promote the use of reliable tools for secure password storage.
- cultivate good password hygiene: foster a culture that appreciates and practices secure password habits.
In a world where remote access is integral to business, organisations need to take full responsibility and implement a strict zero-trust policy, limiting access to critical resources and confidential information with designated role management and conditional access capabilities. Together with an educated workforce, organisations can build a resilient, multi-layered defence, mitigating the constant threat of security incidents.
Having a cybersecurity checklist is more than just a set of guidelines; it's an essential part of business strategy in the remote working era. By adhering to these principles and leveraging the right technological solutions, organisations can maintain integrity and resilience against the constantly evolving cyber threats.
It’s essential to always err on the side of caution and recognise that social engineering preys on human nature itself. Understanding this is the key to preventing companies from becoming the next victim of these time-tested strategies.