Cybersecurity Concerns While Working Remotely

March 17, 2020 | Shari Claire Lewis | Privacy, Data & Cyber Law

Cyber criminals around the globe have quickly exploited the corona virus pandemic. Over the past several weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of phishing emails asking for donations for fake charities or for individuals to share personal information for epidemiological studies.

Reliable sources, such as the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and Johns Hopkins to name a few, have seen their websites hacked or their websites spoofed in order to effectuate computer virus deployment schemes.

At the same time, individuals are encouraged, if not required, to work at home and connect remotely to company systems. These are just a few steps that each of us can take to remain cyber safe while working from home.

  • Confidentiality and privacy should not end at the office door. Depending on your living situation or electronic resources, you may need to take extra precautions to prevent unauthorized access to electronic data and paper records. This is especially important if your work touches on matters subject to attorney-client or another privilege, or includes HIPAA, health, financial or other sensitive information.
  • Extra care is needed as to what we access on our “personal computers” during this time. Malware, such as viruses, Trojan horses or keystroke recorders, on a personal computer may infect or tunnel into company systems when a personal computer is connected remotely. Even if only the personal computer is affected, what has now become an essential piece of equipment will become virtually inoperable.
  • Follow company standards and policies regarding internet usage and social media. You may be tempted to publicly vent about company practices, especially when working in isolation from one’s co-workers. However, the virtual water cooler presents its own dangers, as bad actors are always on the lookout for information that can be exploited against you, your business or its clients and customers.
  • Have you updated your home computer’s operating system, anti-virus protection or privacy settings? Updates are frequently released in response to newly identified vulnerabilities and these updates provide patches for evolving cyber threats. We should anticipate that updates will be rolled out regularly in the next several months.
  • Think before you click! Do not click on every link that you receive without first considering its source and authenticity. This is the time to be extra-vigilant, particularly in responding to emails that you ask you to click on a link, send personal or business information or take financial action. If you have any doubt, check with your information technology consultant, call the sender, initiate a new email string using a known and safe email address or use a browser to independently access the alleged sender’s website.

Like hand-washing, good cyber hygiene is vital to the ongoing health of the business and should be practiced by every individual. If there is a cybersecurity breach, have a rapid response plan, including a list of technology, cybersecurity and legal professionals that can assist the business to recover.

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