Cybersecurity Threats to Virtual Teams (and how to prevent them)

The global pandemic and the increasing social distancing demands have changed the landscape of many industries. Resultantly more and more businesses are allowing their employees to work from home as much as possible. With the increasing number of remote workers, the number of cybersecurity threats as well as cyberattacks is also increasing.

For that matter, vigilance is necessary to keep the data of your organization and your employees safe. In this article, you’ll learn about the cybersecurity threats that will allow you to reduce the risk significantly. So, let’s jump into it.

Brute Force Attacks

Cybercriminals can use brute force attacks to guess login credentials by cycling through millions of combinations. They use computing power to achieve this effectively. Once they have the credentials that work, they try to use them on your business’s online portal to infiltrate the network. It’s one of the most common types of data breach that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

How to Prevent a Brute Force Attack?

One of the tools that remote teams almost always use is VPN (Virtual Private Network). According to Statista, VPN usage increased by 124 percent in March 2020. The best way to stop this attack is to use a paid VPN service with strong security protocols. It prevents the off chance that a cybercriminal can gain any insight into the credentials you typically use for services online by snooping into your online traffic. Alongside a VPN, utilize a reputable password manager so you’re not recycling login details. This ensures your employees never use the same password on different online platforms.

Phishing

It’s yet another very common type of cybersecurity threat. In phishing, the hacker tries to trick your employees by making them click on the malicious downloading or attachment links. Attackers even use well-made websites (on even sensitive topics such as Covid-19) which appear legit and trustworthy. Once the user clicks on the download link or even signs into such websites, either the hackers get the personal credentials or malware gets installed in his/her computer. Some of these attacks compel the user to buy something useless for a pretty penny. But most of these attacks are to get the data by getting your remote workers hacked.

How to Prevent Phishing?

The best way to keep your employees safe from such attacks is to educate them about phishing. According to IBM, human error is the main cause of 95% of cyber security breaches. End User Awareness training is a necessity for your team – especially when dealing with sensitive data. VelocIT partners with Webroot to offer End User Training, an educational module to protect your company, clients, staff and data. We run these programs as a service on an as-needed basis so please reach out to us if you are interested in training for your team. You should also inform your remote workers to avoid all the unknown messages and emails containing attachments, downloadable files, or even links to websites to get ridiculous promotions.

Malware

Malware (Malicious Software) is specially developed software for cyber breaching. You might already have heard of its different types, such as trojans, worms, viruses, etc. Malware can affect your business’ data in many ways, like a virus that starts spreading across your computer and corrupting all the files in its way. That’s how the whole functionality of your computer or even business’ network becomes unusable.

How to Prevent Malware?

The best way to prevent malware is to set up a smart anti-virus/anti-malware security system across your network. Installing is not the final process because you need to keep it updated constantly. Moreover, you also need to make sure suspicious websites are not reachable while someone is logged in to your company’s network.

Ransomware

Ransomware is considered the most dangerous cyberattack with almost negligible possibility to be recovered. It also works somewhat similar to malware as it first needs to be installed in your system. Once the hacker has achieved that, it silently spreads across your system and encrypts all the files in its way. The most interesting and also disturbing thing is the encryption can only be decrypted with a key. The hacker possesses it and asks you for a whole lot of money in exchange for this key. Such an attack recently cost a hospital about 10 million US dollars. According to a recent IBM study, 70% of businesses hit by a ransomware infection pay to regain access to their endpoints and files. 

How to Prevent Ransomware?

The ransomware prevention technique is similar to preventing malware, but still, there’s no guarantee. Every individual must know about this attack so that they avoid all the malicious messages and emails. However, you can perform the following to minimize the risk.

  • Firewalls and anti-virus and anti-malware solutions must be installed and keep them updated.
  • Ensure that all endpoints are backed up to the cloud so that you can simply wipe the machine and reload the data and avoid paying a costly ransom.
  • Avoid untrustworthy websites, emails, messages, attachments, and download links.
  • Block websites that have “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS” (‘s’ stands for secure) on your network.

Final Word

These are some of the most common cyberattacks on your virtual teams that can cost your business a whole lot of money. You can follow the prevention techniques mentioned above to minimize the risk of these attacks, however nothing will offer better protection than a Professional IT partner. VelocIT offers Virtual Office, IT solutions tailored specifically for partial or fully remote teams. We seek to not only protect your company, team and assets, but also help you understand how each cyber-attack type works and what are the best practices to keep your personal data as well as the company’s data safe from them.

References:
https://youteam.io/blog/how-to-keep-remote-employees-safe-from-potential-cyber-threats/
https://securityboulevard.com/2020/03/how-to-protect-remote-employees-from-cyber-threats/
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-combat-cyber-threats-amid-the-shift-to-remote-working/
https://newsroom.ibm.com/2021-02-24-IBM-Security-Report-Attacks-on-Industries-Supporting-COVID-19-Response-Efforts-Double
https://www.varonis.com/blog/top-5-remote-work-security-threats/
https://strategynewmedia.com/types-of-cyber-attacks/
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/security/common-cyberattacks.html#~how-cyber-attacks-work
https://media.scmagazine.com/documents/82/ibm_cyber_security_intelligenc_20450.pdf