Cyber Security Risks When Working from Home

Statistics Of Cyber Security Risks When Working from Home

Since COVID-19 reared its virus-shaped head in early 2020, each and every industry has been affected in some way. Not only has it changed the way in which we all work, but it has paved the way for cyber criminals to target the new wave of home workers. As a result, working from home is becoming a new gateway for such criminals to carry out alternative forms of data theft.

With most tasks being carried out online, and without the security protections in place that are provided within office settings, workers are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than ever before.
74% of organisations questioned say 50-100% of staff are working from home, while 86% say the trend will continue after lockdown.

Ultimately, it looks like remote working is not set to be a short term ‘trend’, and as a result, remote workers will continue to be a target for cyber criminals. With the onset of an undetermined period of lockdown and a huge increase in working from home, these criminals saw their opportunity and grabbed it with both hands, resulting in a 630% increase in cloud-based attacks between January and April 2020.

There have been some eye-watering statistics and over the last year. More than enough to terrify the hardiest of organisations, as they deal with their staff moving to remote working. Here’s a smattering:

  • Phishing emails have spiked by over 600% since the end of February as cyber-criminals look to capitalize on the fear and uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 44% of those surveyed said they didn’t provide cybersecurity training to their staff on the threats of working from home.
  • 68% of the organisations surveyed did not deploy antivirus software for work-issued devices.
  • 47% of employees cited distraction as the reason for falling for a phishing scam while working from home.
  • 24% of respondents had to spend money unexpectedly to resolve a security breach or malware attack following the WFH shift.
  • 81% of cybersecurity professionals have reported their job function changed during the pandemic.
  • In April 2020, Google blocked 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Coronavirus.
  • Remote work has increased the average cost of a data breach by USD137,000.
  • Half a million Zoom user accounts were compromised and sold on a dark web forum in April 2020.
  • 26% of people interviewed reported being tempted to keep copies of valuable company data in case “the worst comes to the worst” (the company becomes insolvent or they lose their job)
  • Remote workers have caused a security breach in 20% of organizations.
  • Email phishing attacks were the most common source of data breaches while working from home.
  • One quarter of all employees have noticed an increase in fraudulent emails, spam and phishing attempts in their corporate email since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

With COVID-19 already being classified as the largest ever cybersecurity threat, and cyber criminals adapting their techniques towards home workers, it’s not just poor security management within organisations that is a danger; but also employees themselves.

Read our blog on: How to stay gdpr compliant when working at home

The huge increase in working from home has expanded the usual digital parameters within organisations from a single office-based location to hundreds, even thousands of home locations.

It is critical that companies take steps to reduce the risk from cyber security threats, through:

  • Educating staff in managing sensitive data from home
  • Monitoring all devices being used so that errors and mishaps can quickly be identified
  • Validation of security effectiveness of service providers, suppliers and partners; ensuring there are no weaknesses in the supply chain
  • Assessing ability to deal with a cyber attack quickly and efficiently, as well as recovery levels to ensure IT infrastructures are back up and running as soon as possible

With the right IT controls and the right training and information readily available for the end-user, working from home can be just as secure as working from an office.

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