Does a Rise in Remote Work Mean a Rise in Cybercrime?

in Business

Remote working is set to increase in the years to come. Companies have realised that employees can complete their work as effectively from home, while also benefitting from a better work/life balance. But this throws up another issue, one that companies had just begun to solve in the workplace: that of internet security. What issues could remote workers face when it comes to cybersecurity?

Work from Home Led to Increase in Cybercrime

2020 saw an increase in incidents of malware – 52% of companies dealt with such an incident, a rise from 37% who said the same in 2019. So, it’s clear that cybercriminals are using the growth in home working to attempt to override the existing measures to prevent cybercrime.

Many types of malware have grown more sophisticated, such as those considered to be examples of malicious advertising. For example, forced redirect ads can seem like genuine ads but use an intrusive pop-up which derails what a site user is intending to do. On mobile devices especially these ads can end up redirecting the user as they fill the entire screen.

Woman holding a smartphone

Personal Devices Could Be Less Likely to Have Protection

While at work users may have specific work computers and laptops that are protected by intricate encryptions, those at home may have to use their personal laptops. As such, there could be a gap in the levels of protection that personal devices have. While businesses may be concerned about their GDPR practices, they may not be as stringent when it comes to employees’ personal devices. As such, cybercriminals could take advantage of this.

If using devices for things other than work, an employee could end up accidentally opening themselves up to cybercrime. Indeed, many sites have been infiltrated by malicious ads and other forms of malware. The employee may not immediately realise that they could end up infecting their device that is then used to deal with sensitive information they use for work.

Many people work remotely out of the house and even use public Wi-Fi. Employees will need to ensure that the network they are joining is verified and defends itself (they are a company themselves, so will have measures in place to protect users). While many may choose to use a VPN to add an extra level of security.

Ensure Employees Have the Ability to Defend Against Cybercrime

The way to ensure that company information remains secure is to be confident that each employee knows how to defend themselves. This could be a seminar on the kinds of cyber issues they could face, or it could be providing everyone with adequate tools to work such as antivirus software. Being educated against the risks that cybercrime poses when working remotely is the first step to ensuring companies are maintaining the level of protection that their customers expect.

The move to remote working has many benefits. But as employees juggle video calls, security may slip through the cracks. It’s the responsibility of the company to ensure they retain their security credentials, but all employees can play a part by understanding the kinds of dangers that they could be subjected to online.


Image Credits: Engin Akyurt, Pixabay

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