26April

Why Remote Workers Continue to be a Target for Cybercriminals

A little more than a year ago now, the COVID-19 pandemic reached Canada. In response to new stay-at-home protocols, many companies transitioned their teams to working remotely where possible. Working from home is not a new concept, but the scale of workers moving their offices into their homes dramatically increased.

As with any shift in workplace trends, new challenges have surfaced for workers and employers alike. Many companies continue to work remotely and have decided to work from home for the foreseeable future, letting go of office leases and location-based expenses. 

Adapting to new, at-home offices has presented challenges both logistically and technologically. Employees are suddenly relying on their own office hardware, internet connections, and online security software, causing the vast majority of organizations to be more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats than ever before.


Evolving Cybercrime: Phishing and Vishing Scams


Just as the workforce has adapted to a new way of working, cybercriminals have also adapted their techniques. As the number of people working from home has skyrocketed, the number of cyber scams has also sharply risen. As a result, remote workers are now targets for both personal and corporate cyberattacks.


Email Phishing


Phishing scams have become more and more sophisticated over the years. They are no longer guaranteed to be riddled with grammatical and obvious spelling errors. Today's phishing scams are highly convincing and continuously evolving. You can learn how to recognize a phishing scam by reading our previous blog post on the subject, but two common clues that an email might be “phishy” are: 

1)There is a sense of urgency to the email, meaning you must respond with personal information or payment within a short time frame, such as 48 hours.

2)The fine details are slightly off. Look at the sender’s email address. Double-check to make sure the company name is spelled correctly and has a real website. Don’t click on any unknown links within an email from an unverified sender. Instead, search their company name using a search engine. If you have any doubts about an email’s validity, don’t click or respond to anything in it and report it to your internal or outsourced IT team as soon as possible.
Vishing


Remote workers are also at an increased risk for vishing attacks. Vishing scammers use a combination of phone calls, emails, and copy-cat websites to collect sensitive personal information from both the employee and the business. The scammers will often pose as IT services, calling employees to verify their accounts. The scammers will convince the employee to share their personal information in the name of “security verification” and then direct them to a fraudulent copy-cat website. The copy-cat websites will often replicate the authentic website so closely that most people don’t notice unless they examine the URL closely.

These scams almost always send a link to their fake sites, rather than having the employee type it into the browser. As soon as the employee enters their login information, the fake site collects it, providing the scammer with a way into the company’s secure network, making them vulnerable to malware, spyware, and ransomware attacks. 


Three Tips to Protect Your Business and Remote Workers from Cybercrime


1. Education and training are vital to keeping your remote workers aware of potential cybercrime threats. Ensure all your employees know how to recognize a suspicious email or phone call and react if they do receive one. You can also set up a security protocol for any IT service communication with your managed service provider to ensure information is shared only with that person or team.

2. Continually monitor and assess your networks, devices, and users for suspicious activity or potential security weaknesses. Cybercriminals take advantage of negligence. Ensure your cybersecurity software is up to date for all employee devices and consider upgrading your network security measures. If your company has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, use our ransomware checklist to take decisive action. 

3. Consider hiring remote IT services so your employees have reliable, quick, and expert support for all situations. If you’re an Alberta business, Alt-Tech is your powerful IT partner that can help with cybersecurity, cloud hosting, and all your other IT needs. 

*Bonus* You can find two more tips to prevent cybercrime in our previous blog post: Five home business cybersecurity measures you can implement in a few hours.

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Take Preventative Action for Your Team


As we go forward, remote work will remain a popular option for many companies and their employees. You can keep your business safe from cybercrime by taking preventative action to keep your company, your client, and your employee information secure. Keep your teams educated and trained, work with IT experts, and stay informed. If you aren’t sure how robust your security is, take our cybersecurity quiz to find out!

Photo by Yasmina H on Unsplash

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