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How to prevent a Successful Phishing Attack when Employees are Working Remotely

Cyber attacks have doubled over the last 12 months as workforces around the globe moved to a distributed or remote working model. Now communication that would usually take place inside a corporate network is being conducted outside the existing security measures and frequently over third party platforms. The pandemic has presented cyber criminals with the perfect opportunity to exploit unprotected systems to access sensitive data. Many phishing attempts are related to the virus or now more so the vaccine in an attempt to allure people to click on a malicious link. And all are financially motivated.

Often phishing attempts utilise domain names that a user is familiar with which lulls the user into a false sense of security as they recognise the company or organisation that the email appears to be coming from.

If you are managing a remote team here are some steps you can take to prevent an employee falling for a phishing attempt.

Improve Email Security

Preventing suspicious emails from reaching staff inboxes is an effective way of minimising the risk of cyber attack. There is some level of security included in a standard M365 licence that can block span and standard phishing attacks but for truly reliable email security it is best to adopt a layered approach. Consider a solution from a dedicated cyber security provider such as Fortinet. Their Fortimail solution delivers advanced multi-layered protection against the full spectrum of email threats. Talk to an IT Service Provider who partners with Fortinet to learn more about this solution.

Utilise Web filtering

Web filtering involves preventing a browser from loading suspicious urls or webpages. So in the event that an employee clicks on a link in an email that connects to a suspicious url your web filter will prevent that site from loading. Your IT Services Provider will be able to set up web filtering for you adding another layer to your defence mechanisms.

Implement 2FA

2FA or Two factor Authentication is a simple step that can be used in the fight against cyber crime. Most users will be familiar with 2FA in some form as many banks and internet services such as payment platforms utilise it. 2FA involves inputting unique user information to prove your identity. Sometimes it’s in the form of a code that is sent by SMS to your mobile number. Or it could be your finger print or a piece of information such as your mother’s maiden name. 2FA is a form of identity management and means that access to systems is not purely reliant on passwords as passwords can be easily stolen or guessed. Again your IT provider can help set up 2FA across all users especially those who are working outside the security of the office firewall.

Remote working on laptop

Adopt Patch Management

Patch management process involves identifying and deploying updates or patches to a variety of endpoints including PCs, laptops, mobile devices and servers. Automated Patch Management Solutions mean that known vulnerabilities are dealt with in a timely and effective way, reducing resource time by automatically updating endpoints as patches become available. An IT Services Provider will be able to advise you on Patch Management.

Engage in User Training

Email remains the dominant vector for entry for cyber criminals. And user error remains the number one issue in the fight against preventing cybercrime. The more savvy your employees are the more protection your business will enjoy. Cyber Security training is necessary for all employees at all levels. Even the boss can fall for phishing attempts. Online cyber security training is a great way to reach employees who are based remotely.

Watch out for Keyloggers

Keyloggers, also known as spyware, are a type of software that is designed to record keystrokes and are one of the oldest forms of cyber threat. Keyloggers are used to steal personal or financial information such as bank details. Some types of keyloggers especially those on mobile devices can record calls, messages and GPS locations. Many keyloggers now come with ransomware that can be activated at the attacker’s discretion.

Your IT Provider will be able to advise you on the best security measures for your business. There is no silver bullet when it comes to adequate IT security. The most effective approach is a multi-layered one that combines a variety of mechanisms to deliver robust cybersecurity to your business. With remote working looking set to stay in some capacity for many businesses and cyber crime at it’s most prevalent now is the time to act.



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