Security Bulletin Archive

June 2021: New security poll

A new security poll of over 4,000 employees in the UK has come to identified some startling conclusions. The poll that included companies of different sizes and in various industries was designed to better understand the trends that have resulted from working at home. It focussed on the changing behaviour of people since they began working from home as a result of the pandemic that rapidly spread across the globe at the beginning of last year.

It revealed many staff have allowed their personal security practices to become lax since they have working from home. Thirty percent of respondents said they believed they are able to get away with behaviour that would not be acceptable in the office. Almost half stated this is because they believe they are not being watched by their company's IT monitoring systems.

Alarmingly, twenty-five percent of employees who took part admitted making mistakes that compromised their company's security. But they failed to report such incidents to avoid disciplinary measures or being made to take part in security training.

A major concern that was raised, is that infected devices might be brough back into the workplace. We have always endorsed the idea that if staff work from home, they should be provided with a company laptop instead of BYOD. That way, the company retains full control over devices, including which security measures are applied to them. This should go some way to mitigating these risks. If you need any advice on staff returning to work, please contact us on 01603 340095.

May 2021: The Downside of Work-From-Home Initiatives

Because many corporate networks have been opened up to a greater extent to allow remote and home working, there has been a significant increase in attempts to hack into organisation's networks throughout 2020 and 2021. As a result, we've beefed up the security for our client's networks, making sure virus signatures are fully up to date, machines were fully patched, firewalls are on and file versioned backups are available at all times. We also made passwords stronger and introduced more secure ways of getting passwords to users. In some cases we modified VPNs so more secure protocols and stronger passwords were used.

We detected many of these attempts were coming from the same blocks of IP addresses ranges (mostly in Russia) so these ranges were blocked at internet level so they couldn't reach our clients networks, although we remain vigilant as new IP ranges could be used. After doing this we saw a big decrease in these more persistent hack attempts. Most concerning is that it appeared the intentions of hackers was to encrypt company data once they had gained access to the network so they could demand large ransoms from businesses to decrypt it. Our message to our clients throughout the lockdown and today is to always be vigilant for phishing emails that contain URLs to unsecured websites that may have threats embedded in them as these are still the favoured method internet criminals use to try to gain access to company networks and the data stored on them. We also implemented Microsoft's Safe Links and ESET's Cloud Office 365 Security for some clients who were particularly concerned about these threats. Also, it is vital to ensure you have full sets of backups with file versioning so you are able to restore form prior dates to ransomware attacks.

If you would like more information on securing your network, please contact us on 01603 340095.

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