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COVID-19: Risks of working from home
VANCOUVER -- COVID-19 has put a lot of pressure on companies and employees trying to keep business going and a paycheck coming in. Working from home, or teleworking, is helping them do that, but it comes with risks.
Cybercriminals are working a number of COVID-19 scams, trying to gain access to private and personal information, which is why you need to make sure your company’s and your customers' private information is secure.
“Given the fear that’s happening, given changes just in work environments, I would say people are in a vulnerable state,” said Derek Manky of Fortiguard Labs.
Architect Claudia Garcia is one of the many workers now working from home. It’s a new experience for her. CTV News caught up with her as she was unloading her work computer from an SUV, ready to get started. We asked her how secure she felt.
“I’m not sure. IT has everything under control and they have been working for a week preparing all the stuff,” she said.
Many companies have taken the necessary steps to ensure teleworkers are able to securely access company servers without putting private information at risk.
Burnaby company Teradici is one of those companies providing secure end point user software to businesses for remote access.
“When I go home the same desktop will follow me,” said Ziad Lammam, VP of Teradici product management and marketing.
However, many businesses were caught off guard.
“It’s definitely a shocker for many organizations,” said Lammam, “It’s been real hectic for us in the past couple of weeks.”
Unfortunately, some teleworkers who find themselves working from home may not have end point user protection.
If you’re using your home computer and network without professional secure access you are advised to take extra precautions.
- Make sure you’re using a VPN or Virtual Private Network
- Be sure your home network is password protected and your router is encrypted
- Use two-factor authentication to access personal email accounts
- Don’t share or store company documents on your computer or personal email accounts
- Keep kids and other prying eyes away from your home work station
- Ensure your computer is password-protected and locked
- If you print documents containing sensitive data, make sure you shred them
- Be aware of phishing scams - don’t click on suspicious links or documents that appear
Professional end point protection software is your safest bet because even if your personal computer becomes vulnerable, it won’t affect your company’s servers.
“When you do connect to that virtual desktop you’re no longer connecting your local P.C. to your corporate environment,” said Lammam.
Your company’s connection is "sandboxed" or walled off from your home computer and protected by firewalls and virus scanning software provided by the remote connection interface.
“There are over a hundred billion threat events a day that we’re monitoring. These include this big wave of COVID-19 scams,” said Manky.
Cybercriminals are posing as officials from the World Health Organization and other medical experts sending documents that contain links to malware. Also, there are many fake sellers of COVID-19 tests and masks looking to take your money too.