COVID-19

Mass telecommuting is an opportunity for hackers

Scott Tong Mar 16, 2020
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As more people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, they're more vulnerable to being hacked. Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Mass telecommuting is an opportunity for hackers

Scott Tong Mar 16, 2020
As more people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, they're more vulnerable to being hacked. Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images
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Working from home is the new reality for hundreds of millions of Americans and their companies. That means lots of workers in their studies or kitchen tables are in far more vulnerable cyber environments. And there’s ample evidence the bad guys are out in force.

What’s vulnerable?

The bad guys are great at cracking weak Wi-Fi passwords in your home. And even if your work laptop is secure, parts of your home network are not.

“Unprotected and old printers. There might be older machines that are completely unprotected on the same network,” said Sam Curry at Cybereason. “There’s routers. Many routers are extremely weak and potentially owned and findable by attackers.”

Once they get in, hackers can hunt for your bank passwords. Or sell your data. Or hold it ransom.

They’ll also pounce if you’re not using a virtual private network that encrypts wireless data.

And if you’re at home doing 64 things today, your guard is down when it comes to clicking dodgy emails, said Dave Baggett of cyber security firm INKY.

“There really should be a special place in hell for someone who sends a mail like this: The mail says, ‘Nothing is more important to us than keeping you, our employees, safe,'” he said. “Of course, this is not a real mail from your boss. It’s a scam.”

Security firms are seeing more malicious activity

These days, more scam websites and emails are pretending to be coronavirus related — like that local exposure map that really isn’t, according to Mark Ostrowski at Check Point Security.

“Now we’re seeing campaigns that are originating from the COVID-19 subject line. That’s where we’re going to see more and more,” he said.

Ostrowski said of all the new domains registered for new websites since January, the coronavirus sites are 50% more likely than non-irus sites to be malicious.

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