Remote Work = Remote Hacking? Five Data Protection Tips to Keep Your Data Secure
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Remote Work = Remote Hacking? Five Data Protection Tips to Keep Your Data Secure

With remote work’s convenience comes the risk of remote hackers.

Remote work is perhaps one of the best things that came out of the pandemic. But along with every good thing comes risks and cons. And perhaps the biggest risk of remote working is Remote Hacking. 

In September 2022, over 90 videos and images from the sixth edition of the popular action-adventure game, Grand Theft Auto were leaked due to a hack. The leaked contents of GTA VI were then uploaded on GTAForums by user teapotuberhacker. They claimed that they were able to access the game data via the publisher Rockstar Games‘s internal feed on Slack. While the GTA 6 leak involved illegal access and unwanted publicity of some gameplay footage, Vice City locations and character reveals that were not meant to be released, hacking also poses a threat to security breaches of individuals’ and business’ sensitive data.

Working outside of a traditional office setting has several benefits. However, employees working from home could unintentionally endanger your company’s data and networks. During the COVID-19 epidemic, companies and their employees had increasingly relocated their operations to the cloud, putting their networks at risk of intrusion. Companies were forced to quickly implement WFH policies that relied heavily upon cloud services like VPN, Remote Desktop Protocol and applications like Office 365 or Google Workspace.

This permitted employees to work outside the company network and increased cybercriminals’ attack surface. This way, malicious hackers can take advantage of the lower level of monitoring activity and successfully compromise credentials – which are used to access cloud services remotely.

Data breaches, unprotected wi-fi connections, and unattended PCs are some of the possible harmful consequences a firm may face when you add in an employee who works remotely and has limited technological expertise. This combo can make your organization vulnerable to cyber attacks.

However, it’s easy to overlook the risks of remote access when the perks are so appealing.

  • Spending less money on travel and office space is a huge benefit.
  • Your employees can still complete their tasks even if they’re sick at home.
  • It’s possible that your employees will be more productive in their own homes, away from the usual office distractions.
  • You and your workers can work after regular business hours.

Because of this, we will walk you through the various dangers associated with remote access and the solutions to these problems.

What is Remote Access?

“Remote access” refers to the capacity to access a computer or network from a remote location. Remote access can be established via LAN, WAN, or VPN, all of which are types of virtual private networks.

For enterprises, remote access services include a wide range of software and hardware solutions that make it possible to connect remotely. They’re not safe, unfortunately.

Are Cloud Servers Secure?

Every day, more and more enterprises are making the switch to cloud-based storage. However, many people and company owners have not yet made the transition for a straightforward reason: they are concerned about their data privacy and safety.

Regarding security, having physical servers on-site has a few advantages. The data is not transmitted over the internet and is instead stored locally. Every piece of information you produce stays within your network. Your network’s firewall protects your server on-premises from the outside world. Knowing you are in control of things provides you with peace and a sense of safety.

On the Cloud, security is a two-way street. One of the main advantages of using a Cloud server is that the service provider typically has the most advanced security measures.

However, the security of a cloud system is only as good as the firm that is using it. A breach can occur despite the provider’s extensive security procedures because of poor management on your part, even if the provider is diligent. Your IT provider needs to establish security rules and ensure that all security devices are kept up to date to ensure the safety of your data. To avoid being hacked, it is necessary to implement password restrictions such as password encryption and lockouts. This is a list of policies that your IT provider must handle. As a result, you should collaborate with the members of your IT department to choose a Cloud provider that lives up to the standards.

Can Hackers Remotely Access Your Computer?

Hackers increasingly use RDP-based networks to access sensitive data through remote desktop hacks, such as passwords and system applications. Every day, criminals develop new and inventive ways to gain access to people’s personal information and use it as leverage to extract ransom payments.

Your company must do everything possible regarding network and system security to keep hackers at bay. RDP is a widely used solution in enterprises, yet the fact that it is so widely used is precisely what makes it susceptible to RDP hacking. Suppose you already use Microsoft’s RDP as a remote desktop or remote support solution. In that case, you must have a solid understanding of the potential dangers and the other available options.

Cyber Security Risks: How Do Hackers Get Remote Access?

  • Unsecured Home Devices

Employees typically use their own devices to access the business network when working from home. Due to the lack of corporate laptops, many employees are exposed to security threats.

VPNs and single sign-on solutions with encrypted tokens are commonplace in companies with a strong focus on cybersecurity, as they ensure that all devices accessing a company’s network are protected. However, the average individual does not consider encrypting their devices or using a VPN to access the internet at home, even if they merely check their work voicemails.

Personal computers tend to be less secure than those used in the workplace. Therefore, the security elements that the vast majority of employees consider to be a norm, such as email filtering,  encryption, and firewalls, may not be available, and corporate security experts may not have any supervision into what is happening. In the absence of this additional security, these personal gadgets could be used by hackers to gain access to business networks.

  • Unencrypted File Sharing

Companies might have encryption policies for the data stored on their networks, but they might not consider using encryption for the data when it is moving from one system to another. This includes email solutions and cloud-based file-sharing services provided by a third party. Because employees exchange a great deal of sensitive information regularly, ranging from customer data to confidential product information, businesses cannot afford to use file-sharing solutions or services that do not employ encryption. Theft of information can result in ransomware attacks, other theft, and an increased risk to one’s reputation.

  • Lack of Computer Inspection

Many software solutions for remote access don’t check the remote device for viruses or malware. Anyone with remote access to your office network might infect your company’s servers by using an infected PC at home or work.

  • Open Home WiFi Networks

Remote workers who use their own devices to access the corporate network face significant challenges. Companies often overlook the security of their employees’ networks, particularly their home WiFi network, which is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Many individuals neglect their WiFi routers regarding personal devices and their security. As with any other hardware, this needs updating and maintenance, yet most people don’t give it a second thought.

Security holes in outdated routers can be exploited by hackers, which can lead to data breaches in the long run. People who keep the default router password and do not routinely reset it leave themselves vulnerable to hackers, who can exploit this loophole to infiltrate their network.

  • Phishing Emails 

Email phishing is the most common method of delivering malware and other hacking techniques, and it’s working. There were 66% of phishing attacks in the UK last year, and 30% of those attacks resulted in malware infections for the organisations surveyed.

People’s anxieties and emotions are frequently exploited in phishing attacks to persuade users to download malicious attachments or click on links that lead to spoof sites. The cons trick users into handing over their login information or downloading malicious software that grants the perpetrators access to the computer in question. These emails have gotten so sophisticated that it is becoming increasingly difficult for employees to detect them, particularly if they manage to get past the corporate email filters into their inboxes.

Easy Logins and Passwords

A username and password are often all that’s required for remote access endpoints to connect to your network. This single sign-on method is a huge problem because most individuals use passwords that can be hacked.

  • End Point of a VPN

Many endpoint users accidentally engage in risky activities, such as connecting to an unprotected Wi-Fi network, browsing malicious websites, and downloading dangerous software. Because of these actions, hackers can infect your device using a man-in-the-middle attack or other forms of hacking.

The Risk of Hacking with Collaborative Apps

Businesses and organizations that use collaboration apps regularly particularly to discuss sensitive information and share files that are to be kept secure, it is important to be wary of the security risks that accompany such means of communication.

The GTA 6 hack was executed through Slack. A week before, on September 16th, Uber also fell victim to a ‘cybersecurity incident’ where an 18-year-old hacker gained access not only to their internal Slack channel but also, to their admin systems, an internal company VPN, PowerShell scripts on Uber’s intranet, and even AWS and G Suite accounts according to cybersecurity expert, Corben Leo. Last year saw EA games have some of their data including source code for FIFA 2021 and the Frostbite engine stolen. How did the EA hack start? Slack. In short, messaging and collaborative apps are not able to safeguard your sensitive IP data.

Industries that deal with sensitive data of critical nature (finance, government institutions) do not permit their employees to use personal devices or mainstream messaging apps to carry out business communications. Doing so can even lead to hefty fines for some. So should your company also stop using Slack or other collaboration tools? 

Not really.

Make sure that you or your employees are not sending overly sensitive data on platforms that can easily be accessed by others. Enact a strict policy to ensure adherence to rules that discourage employees from sharing any sort of IP data with others. So while someone with malicious intent may steal passwords or other authentication information, it will be hard to get access to sensitive data and business secrets. You can also find a communication app with end-to-end encryption to easily identify if an unauthorized individual is using protected channels.

Hard to overstate is the significance of awareness amongst your employees about sharing private information or accessing sites and apps that have a mistrustful air about them.

Five Data Protection Tips From Remote Hacking

Today’s digital environment enables workers to do their duties from virtually any location; however, this does not mean that businesses are forced to put their data, information, or systems in danger. By taking preventative measures, firms and their remote workers can have greater confidence in their remote security and close the door on any hackers who might be interested in taking advantage of them.

So, what are the best practices for guarding against and resolving remote access security issues? By putting the following recommendations into action.

  • Set up a VPN

A virtual private network, or VPN, is essential when attempting to remotely access sensitive data safely. There are several different VPNs that you should be familiar with and think about using for your business. In most cases, a virtual private network (VPN) is already included in a business-grade firewall that you employ. Also, many IT organisations that provide network management services give top-of-the-line VPNs.

However, a VPN can still be bypassed if the end-user adopts harmful habits such as using weak passwords.

  • Set up a Firewall and Antivirus

The first step in limiting remote access threats is selecting a firewall appropriate for your organization’s size, scope, and scale. Ensure your firewall is equipped with built-in antivirus, anti-malware, and high-availability software and programmes.

  • Encrypted File Sharing

Companies can use file-sharing platforms like WeTransfer, Dropbox, and OneDrive to ensure that their remote workers’ files and data are safe and secure. Organizations that want to send and receive an encrypted email can use HushMail, ProtonMail or a VPN to keep all correspondence on the corporate network. Although the particulars may change depending on the deployment, most virtual private networks (VPNs) feature end-to-end encryption options.

  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication

A breach of your system could lead to the theft of your login credentials. That’s a terrible thought, but you can take steps to reduce the value of that information to hackers. It’s called two-factor authentication and requires you to input a one-time password to authenticate logging in after you submit your user credentials. Implementation of multi-factor authentication can improve The traditional single sign-on technique effectively.

It’s possible to go a step further and ask your outside vendors to contact your operations department to obtain a one-time passcode for remote access to your data. You may utilise eye or fingerprint scanning as a high-tech option for authenticating your identity.

A hacker can’t get into your bank account or your company’s payroll system just by obtaining your password if such features are activated. It’s an additional step, but it’s one of the most successful ways to block intruders. When using Google and Microsoft cloud services, you may enable two-factor authentication and check out additional alternatives to ensure your accounts are safe.

  • Avoid Phishing Scams

Most hacking assaults begin with a malicious email, or “phishing,” which Microsoft says accounts for 91% of cyberattacks.

To limit the risk caused by phishing emails, training employees on how to identify and prevent them is crucial. To guarantee that everyone is informed, it ought to be put into practice for both the currently employed and the newly hired. Phishing detection is an area where companies need to keep their employees up-to-date on the newest trends and threats. More than half of UK companies (52%) conduct quarterly security training for their employees, which is higher than the global average (41% .) 

Remote workers who connect to the corporate network using their own equipment or devices need additional attention and training regularly. Additionally, security teams should modify the training to integrate non-standard or non-corporate equipment, such as personal devices or technology stacks.

Faqs

  1. How do hackers get remote access?

There has been an upsurge in spam, phishing and fraudulent communications in corporate email since the COVID-19 pandemic began. When it comes to hacking, criminals’ most common entry points are weak technological foundations and a lack of cyber and data security.

     2. What are the best VPNs to use?

Some of the best VPNs for businesses enlisted by Forbes Advisor are as follows:

  • StrongVPN
  • CyberGhost
  • Torguard VPN
  • NordLayer
  • HideMyAss!
  • IPVanish
  • ExpressVPN
  • Surfshark

Key takeaways:

COVID-19-related concerns are being used as a weapon by cybercriminals. As a result, working from home has become a point of entry for new types of data theft. Therefore, cybersecurity needs to be addressed to safeguard your data and network from being attacked.

Even if more and more jobs are being done remotely, reasonably priced solutions can protect your infrastructure and data from modern threats and security breaches.

Many firms have high-tech security fences to keep their data workers safe, but remote workers can be just as safe. You may secure your company’s data and systems by learning about the most common remote work security threats and taking the necessary steps to minimize them.

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