Remote work options are popular trends that provide flexibility for the employee and potentially a less expensive option for the employer. However, remote work devices can pose a real threat to your organization, especially after recent layoffs or organizational restructuring. We’ll explore the potential vulnerabilities caused by unprotected devices as well as data breach prevention techniques to keep your organization’s private data secure.
Remote Work Vulnerabilities and Data Breach Prevention
Understanding Remote Hacking of Remote Worker Devices
Hackers from around the world can easily target remote work devices because a home office setup and connection to the organization’s internal systems often lack the security standards of an organization’s base. There has been an increase in Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks that are believed to be directly related to the number of organizations that employ remote workers.
Applications or collaborative platforms such as Slack and Office 360 can be environments in which a threat actor could take advantage of a relaxed at-home employee to gain access to your organization. If there are no other safeguards in place, a threat actor could use stolen information to increase their foothold in your organization. In fact, a threat actor was able to use Slack to gain access to private data for both Uber and Rockstar Games in 2022.
Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities That Stem From Remote Work Environments
When evaluating an organization’s overall cybersecurity posture, it’s crucial to consider vulnerabilities that are present simply because of the remote working environment. These vulnerabilities are:
- Unsecured home networks.
- Unsecured Corporate Network.
- Relaxed environment that may foster effective social engineering attacks.
- Using old or outdated hardware.
- Lack of security awareness training.
In some cases, cyberattacks against a remote worker’s devices and connections may not even be needed for a threat actor to gain unauthorized access. Unless specifically asked to do so, former employees may forget or choose not to delete their work applications or saved login credentials from their personal devices. Should they lose or sell these devices, your organization could be at the mercy of whoever discovers this vulnerable access point to your organization’s private data.
Types of Data Breaches Related to Remote Work Vulnerabilities
Threat actors have several ways to take advantage of less restrictive work-from- home environments to successfully cause a data breach. Data breach methods include:
- Password spraying attacks.
- Malware and Ransomware.
- Man-in-the-middle attack (MitM).
Another factor is if a disgruntled or desperate former employee still had access to an organization’s internal systems through remote work devices. The former employee could use malware or ransomware to take advantage of the access they already have.
Data Breach Prevention Techniques
Programs such as KnowB4’s Cybersecurity Awareness Training could help employees to recognize the weaknesses of their remote work environment. With the right protocols — such as strong passwords and the use of a virtual private network (VPN) — work-from-home employees can help reduce the chance of a data breach caused by remote vulnerabilities.
However, routine testing and observation can be your best defense, as it’s easy for employees to let their guard down over time.
Data Breach Prevention Through Penetration Testing
A penetration test performed by cybersecurity experts allows you to get an in-depth look at hidden vulnerabilities so you can work to strengthen your security posture and prevent future data breaches.
Some kinds of penetration testing can help you gain insight into which weaknesses stem from remote work environments and unprotected remote devices. For example, you could use an internal network penetration test to find out if former employee login and account information is stored correctly in your internal systems — or if it can be used against your organization as an entry point.
Penetration Testing for All Vulnerabilities
Data breach prevention starts with knowing where your organization stands against threat actors. The right penetration test can show your organization’s strengths and weaknesses so you can mitigate the risks and harden your security where it counts. But how do you know which pentest can expose your organization’s greatest threats? Request pentesting information to learn more.