Hybrid work: cybersecurity threats and how to avoid them – Technology News – Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic took a 180 degree turn from the way many companies were used to operating. From one day to the next, hundreds of thousands of employees had to leave their offices to start working from their homes, using models of remote work or telecommuting.

This was evident in the study Penetration and Perception of Telework in Colombia, which was presented in September of this year by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

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The report indicates that in the country, last year there was an increase of 71 percent in the number of teleworkers With respect to 2018, adding 209,173 more employees in this modality, and four out of ten companies migrated to a remote work system.

But with the opening of all sectors and the elimination of mandatory isolation measures, many companies have already resumed their models of presence and in some cases there has been talk of a hybrid work format, which includes some working days from home and others at the company.

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In order to apply this system reliably, certain aspects must be taken into account in terms of Informatic security, since cybercriminals look for gaps in these remote work models “to try to access corporate networks through employees who work from their homes,” says Juan Carlos Puentes, cybersecurity expert and general manager of Fortinet Colombia.

Between the threats in computer security are attempts to execute remote code on IoT devices, especially IP cameras and microphones, and redirect them to malicious sites, and “brute force” attacks, which are commonly used to crack algorithms or obtain weak email passwords, social media credentials and Wi-Fi access, among others.

Thus, the attacker makes several almost simultaneous attempts through repetitive automatic mechanisms until a successful result is achieved ”, explains Puentes.

This practice can generate a security breach, because when the computer is shared with other members of the family it can be exposed to viruses or attacks of different types

Factors such as the fact that many employees make use of their personal equipment to work or in some cases use work computers to do other day-to-day tasks.

“This practice can generate a security breach, because when the computer is shared with other members of the family, it can be exposed to viruses or attacks of different types. For example, the person can share from their computer a file that is infected through the VPN connection of the company, which means a risk to the systems of the company ”, affirms Arley Brogiato, the director of sales of SonicWall Latin America, an expert company in network security.

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Tactics

Attackers have used multiple strategies to steal information and money through digital means. One of the most used modalities is related to ransomware, a cyber attack which consists of the kidnapping of information and files by a criminal to later request a financial ransom. According to an analysis by FortiGuard Labs, by June of this year, the registered cases were ten times more than those of the same period of 2020.

To this is added, indicates Puentes, the malvertising tactic, “which consists of the use of online advertising for the distribution of malware (malicious programs), Cryxos being the most prevalent ”.

In addition, there has been an increase in botnet use cases, where hackers create by means of trojan virus special features a breach in computer security that allows the criminal to take control of the computer remotely.

Activity grew on the TrickBot botnet, which originally emerged as a banking Trojan, but has since evolved into a multi-stage toolkit that supports a variety of illicit activities”, Says the Fortinet expert.

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To do?

In the hybrid work system, both companies and employees must take protection measures to avoid possible attacks.

The worker, for his part, should avoid using the company’s equipment for daily tasks that may represent access to unsecured pages. Malicious emails or emails play an important role in this. phishing, who want the person to access a false page or download a file that allows an attack.

For this reason, Brogiato assures that it is important to activate security filters and to distrust messages of unknown origin. “We must activate double factor mechanisms of authentication to stop the attack of a criminal, in the event that they have obtained a password or access credential ”, he details.

Double-factor authentication mechanisms must be activated to stop the attack of a criminal, in the event that they have obtained a password or access credential

In the case of companies, data center security protocols must be updated, establishing zero trust or zero trust models, which allow limiting “user and device access to networks, ultimately providing a guarantee of additional identity. This allows limiting the entry of users and devices only to the applications necessary to complete the work functions ”, assures Puentes.

Networks, on the other hand, must have SD-WAN elements, next generation firewalls (NGFW) and advanced routing capabilities. And, finally, experts emphasize, the adopted security technologies should be “scalable and eliminate security blind spots to allow greater protection of the remote workforce”.

(Also read: This is what you should do if you are a victim of a computer crime)

Came to stay

The hybrid work model is welcomed by workers in the country. The Polimétrica Survey, published last June by the Universidad del Rosario and Cifras y Conceptos, revealed that 55 percent of the people consulted prefer to be in a mixed labor system have days in person and others from home.

Among the figures, it stands out that 67 percent of those interviewed between the ages of 26 and 35 were in favor of hybrid work; while 60 percent of people over 65 prefer a face-to-face system completely. Likewise, 67 percent of the employees with a higher level of education are more inclined towards a format that combines face-to-face and remote work.

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