On Monday, this was my office for the day.
I loved it. No one around, peaceful and I was excited at the prospect of working remotely from wherever I could find a spot in the coming weeks. I live near the beach so if the government ask me to social distance myself, who am I to question this advice? I will gladly do my bit for my country.
But then the reality hit home when the same government told me my kids would be joining me next week! “PANIC BUY THE WINE” was mine and my wife’s first thought. Second thing was – how on earth am I gonna keep the kids entertained? I think I’ll just have to include them in my conference calls and start by asking them to make me a different background for each day for my Zoom conference calls. Win Win!
One thing I thought about with the increase in conference calling refers to webcam covers. As awesome as Zoom and others are, those conscious enough to use a webcam cover are finding themselves using it more than ever and as I write, I notice I hadn’t pushed mine back from the two conference calls I have just had back to back this morning. If you have a cover, make sure you put it back to covering it when not in use and if you don’t have one, buy one in your lunch break (or whenever… your boss won’t know anyway ha!)
So for those that are going to be at home working for the first time, this means there will be a lot of people using their own devices. If your desktop is at work and you can remote in, that’s excellent but what if the machine you are remoting in from is super old? I am in my 30s and know most of my friends don’t use a computer at home anymore so the one they are using is very old in computer terms. Some will no doubt even be on Windows 7 and will be at risk by turning the thing on!
Then there are those who are using their work laptop, smugly feeling they can use it without a worry as it’s all taken care of. But what about those not being updated regularly? We are possibly going to be at home for a long time and we may not get the patches that we require immediately so everyone has to stay vigilant.
I shudder when I think of data security and the regulations around it but I genuinely think there is no better way test to GDPR than the situation we are in right now.
Working from home naturally causes many glitches and other nags that we just want to get things done. What happens is it presents people with two options: take a while to figure something out or cut corners and hope for the best. Cutting corners is natural when your’re out of your comfort zone, but these vital steps cause security risks. Clicking on links you believe to be that Teams/Skype/Zoom conference call in an unfamiliar app whilst late to the meeting doesn’t leave you any time to check the authenticity of the email’s origin. Targeted phishing emails are going crazy right now and no wonder people are clicking on nefarious links. It’s tough for people in the industry let alone people u familiar with these new working conditions.
Then we have the insider threat! This sneaky little player in our midst is enjoying this time with no one watching (DISCLAIMER: unless someone has hacked their webcam and their webcam cover is not shut properly). They could potentially be having a whale of a time exporting document after document out of the company. Whether it’s by simply taking photos of the screen all day long or even easier with the ability to send to cloud storage if wrongly enabled. The fact is, an insider threat is a company’s biggest risk right now. I guess their new name now would technically be an outside insider threat though!
I rang my sister last night to give her an update on my parents who I had just visited (with a window separating us). Just as we were about to end the call, she asked me what I was doing about creating an antidote to COVID-19 (WTF?). She then went into a whole spiel that as I work for an Antivirus company, we should be working day and night to help combat it. I’ve never hit my face so hard with my palm. All these years and she has no idea what I do!
Anyway, stay safe from online and offline viruses people!
Jake Moore, Cyber Security Specialist | ESET