The Coronavirus pandemic forced a variety of new adjustments on people. Most offices had to close down, and workers had to turn to their home offices to do work. Schools, universities, most places of education did the same and introduced home learning. Most entertainment outlets were no longer accessible either – the movies, theatres, concerts, everything got canceled or delayed. Home computers and laptops became an essential piece of technology at home. We use them for work, study, and fun. But can you trust them to be secure enough not to lead to trouble? You might be thinking, ”Well, I have a VPN, I’m safe.” But are you?
What is a VPN, and what does it do? VPN stands for virtual private network, and its general role boils down to two words – connectivity and security. A VPN extends a private network across a public network and allows users to exchange data across shared or public networks as though their devices connect directly to the private network. VPNs shield your original IP address and protect your data. If you join a VPN to your router, it covers all your devices connected to said router. Like, phone, PC, laptop, gaming console, smart TV, and other IoT devices.
In Corona-times, VPNs are a godsend for employees who aim to reach and use corporate resources. They connect to the company VPN and go about their daily business. The question is, do they use a company device to do their work, as a company PC or laptop, or do they use a home one? That makes all the difference. If you connect the company VPN on your home network, you expose your company to malware. Think about it. What if you, or a family member, carelessly clicked on something they shouldn’t have, and now malware lurks on the PC that you’re connecting to your corporate network?
Another issue with that scenario is what type of VPN the home-office employee turns to exactly? Is it a consumer VPN server based in a different country? That’s risky.
Employees find themselves in a completely new situation, unique to both them and their employer. What had previously gotten used only on rare occasions or emergencies is now used on a regular day-to-day basis, given that 100% of the workload gets done from home. That makes workers vulnerable to targeted attacks. There are already examples of that. According to Sultan Meghji, CEO of Neocova (a cloud-based suite of banking solutions company), several bank CFOs became victims of criminals and state-based attackers.
Cybercriminals are on the lookout for easy targets. They search for open WiFi and encryption that they can break easily. Don’t be that easy target! An excellent way to up your home cybersecurity is to update your router. Ask yourself whether the router you use daily is older than your phone. If yes, replace it ASAP.
Another way to keep the office and home systems safe is education. Employers should educate their employees on cybersecurity and the best practices to implement for the most protection.