Working from home has become the norm since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. This has drastically changed the security standards for most organizations.

For many, it was a simple shift. However, most companies found their IT teams were unequipped for these monumental changes.

Remote work means the devices, data, and employees remain outside the organization’s physical location. Unfortunately, this scenario increases the vulnerability to cyberattacks. Check Point Research shows a 50% increase in attacks each week in 2021 compared to 2020. Companies are working on expanding their security investments this year.

Here are the latest cybersecurity trends driven by remote work.

1. Increased Malware Attacks

Many companies were left unprepared for the organizational tasks of switching from offices to remote work during the lockdown. Due to this rapid changeover, numerous operations had no time to plan. Most organizations focused on keeping work-from-home employees productive and the business operational during that time.

Therefore, companies abandoned traditional security protocols, which increased malware attacks within the last couple of years. In fact, the pandemic raised the cybercrime rate, which led to 4,000 complaints each day with the FBI’s Cyber Division — a large increase from the pre-pandemic days of 1,000.

Most cyberattacks that affected remote work were spread due to employees accidentally opening a phishing email. In turn, the workers exposed company networks to high-risk activities.

Consider supplying your employees with the right amount of protection. Good antiviral software will boost their defense and keep them safe from hackers.

2. Synthetic Identities

Synthetic identities are a growing crime in the U.S. Scammers use real and fake data to form a new identity and defraud people financially.

These crimes are much simpler to commit because they involve a credit card request and access to digital accounts. IT handlers are warning about the surge of organized recruiters, making it difficult for companies to detect these fraudsters during the hiring process. In other words, scammers are hired as employees and access valuable information.

Your organization can prevent this by investigating candidate identities through public and private online sources.

3. Artificial Intelligence Weaponry

Organizations are lowering their budgets and finding ways to combine their security solutions for remote teams. That is where hyper-automation comes into existence.

Hyper-automation allows businesses to automate processes using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other automation technologies. Using these tools allows for seamless work depending on the software.

However, automation poses cybersecurity risk. Hackers use it to attack organizational networks through remote workers. Their software will spot patterns of defense and then identify vulnerabilities within similar systems.

Many hackers will collect data from these attacks, repurpose it, and use it for training their systems and attacking similar software. As a result, attackers hone in on these vulnerabilities — making breaches quicker and stealthier.

However, you can prevent this by using endpoint security systems for remote employees.

4. Data Privacy Concerns

Most businesses collect, store and transfer data — creating more digital footprints each year. About  71% of survey respondents say they have more access to company data at home than before the pandemic. Data is a huge asset and as the digital footprint grows, so do endpoint hackers.

Moreover, attackers are finding it easier to access remote work information because home-based employees use unsecured networks. 

One of the many security solutions you should consider for your remote workers is investing in a virtual private network (VPN). Doing so will protect your remote team from unwanted cyberattacks and build a secure tunnel between them and your company’s server.

VPNs can secure a remote network by scrambling the data, so you may expect to see remote workers using them more regularly.

The Impact of Remote Work and Cybersecurity

More trends in cybersecurity are likely to emerge as the year progresses. COVID-19 is an ever-changing landscape. Therefore, it’s difficult to tell how else remote work will influence cybersecurity changes.

However, you can train your employees to use sufficient IT protocols and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. That way, your company can remain on top of cyberattacks.

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