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How to Keep Remote Employees Safe from Potential Cyber Threats?

Because of the impact of COVID-19, the number of people who work remotely has increased dramatically, implying that businesses rely on IT infrastructures and online systems more than ever before. Working from home is convenient and has many advantages, but it also exposes individuals and businesses to a variety of cybersecurity risks.

Without the powerful armor provided by the best online security suites, business computer systems accessed via home networks are vulnerable to compromise by hackers looking to steal sensitive data for criminal purposes such as fraud. It is critical to establish effective security practices to reduce cyber security attacks. We offer advice and recommendations in this article to help make remote working for employees as safe as possible.

Here are the top 10 tips for companies or remote employees to help protect them from cyber threats.

  1. Use Zenarmor Network Security System
  2. Establish a Process for Employees Coming-Going
  3. Educate Employees on Cybersecurity
  4. Appoint A Security Officer
  5. Have Comprehensive Policies Guarding Sensitive Information
  6. Implement Multi Factor Authentication For Everyone
  7. Don't Allow Public Wi-Fi Access
  8. Use A Companywide Password Manager
  9. Provide a Virtual Private Network
  10. Use a Centralized Storage Solution

Keep Remote Employees Safe from Potential Cyber Threats

Figure 1. Keep Remote Employees Safe from Potential Cyber Threats

1. Use Zenarmor Network Security System

The global secure access service edge (SASE) market is expected to grow from USD 1.2 billion in 2021 to USD 4.1 billion by 2026, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26.4 percent from 2021 to 2026. One of the prominent SASE products which is Zenarmor (formerly Sensei) is one of the best security tools to use to secure the remote workforce.

Advanced malware and highly sophisticated threats are detected and blocked by this powerful, enterprise-class content filtering engine. You can even run ZENARMOR on an old PC or a virtual system in your home lab! Free, light, and nimble. This enables businesses to launch software-based micro firewalls on demand to easily secure assets wherever they are and at any time. A cloud-based web categorization database powered by AI provides a real-time classification for hundreds of millions of websites. Unknown sites are classified as 5 minutes.

Security Rule configuration on Zenarmor

Figure 2. Security Rule configuration on Zenarmor

On Zenarmor's Security page, you can define general rules for threat analysis. In real-time, the engine processes your request queries to SVN Cloud and determines whether they will be allowed or blocked. In milliseconds, it searches 140+ million websites across 120+ categories.

When any device on your network attempts to connect to the internet, the Cloud Threat Intelligence data is queried in real-time. It enables us to respond in real-time to malware and wireless outbreaks.

The Cloud Threat Intelligence data is queried real-time when any device on your network attempts to connect to anywhere on the internet. It allows us to respond to malware and wireless outbreaks in real-time.

Users can only use the Essential Security options in the Free Edition. Zenarmor Premium Subscriptions offer advanced security features (Home, SOHO, Premium).

Advanced Threat Protection is provided by blocking websites known to host viruses, malware, and launching phishing attacks. You get near-real-time commercial-grade threat protection and tracking with Sunny Valley's Advanced Threat Protection capabilities.

How to Protect Remote Employees Using Zenarmor

The main steps for safeguarding your remote employees against cyber threats using Zenarmor are outlined below:

1. Install and Configure a VPN Service

To allow your remote workers to access your corporate network and to provide internet access behind the company firewall securely, you must install and configure a VPN service. For example, you may install WireGuard VPN server on a OPNsense firewall by following the steps given in this article.

If you have a Linux firewall, reading the WireGuard Installation Tutorial written by Sunny Valley Networks may be helpful.

2. Install Zenarmor

The installation of Zenarmor is straightforward and you can install it on your OPNsense firewall via web UI quickly by following instructions given in the official documentation.

If you have a Linux-based firewall, you can install Zenarmor by running the [one-liner] (/docs/installing/installation) command easily.

3. Complete Zenarmor Initial Configuration

To finish the Zenarmor installation you should complete the initial configuration on OPNsense GUI for OPNsense firewall or Cloud Management Portal for all platforms.

caution

To be able to safeguard your VPN clients, you must select your VPN interface, such as wg0 for WireGuard, to protect during initial configuration.

4. Define a Policy

Finally, you should define a policy to start to protect remote workers via either OPNsense web GUI for OPNsense firewall or Cloud Management Portal for all platforms. You may protect your VPN tunnel interface by configuring the Default policy on Zenarmor Free Edition for free. You can add more policies on Premium editions.

2. Educate Employees on Cybersecurity

As more data breaches and hacks hit the headlines, affecting companies ranging from kitchen manufacturers to investment management companies, it's critical that you take the time now to assess where your organization is vulnerable. While you can set up any number of systems to protect your business with cybersecurity, the truth is that many attacks target you where you're most vulnerable: your employees. Understanding how to train employees for cybersecurity is critical for any organization.

With so many tools accessible to organizations to secure their digital assets, such as managed IT services that provide top-tier protection on a small business budget, hackers have turned to strategies such as spear-phishing and social engineering to locate an easy target. The business world is always changing, and it can be difficult to stay up. Here are eight cybersecurity training suggestions and best practices to get you started.

What are the Cyber Terms to Teach Employees?

Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated in terms of scale, intensity, and audacity. There is no one safe. Large organizations are a target because hackers see a huge return. Small businesses are also vulnerable since they lack the financial capability to invest in advanced security systems. Businesses must do all possible to protect their data and technology infrastructure now more than ever. Non-technical personnel will have a significantly higher chance of making the appropriate security decisions if they comprehend important cybersecurity phrases. There are thousands of cybersecurity phrases, but no one (techie or not) is required to know them all. Some terms, however, are more important than others, and all employees must be aware of them.

It's important to note that learning these cybersecurity words entails more than merely memorizing their definitions. Rather, it is the ability to comprehend the patterns and behaviors that define them.

Some of the most important cyber security terms that every employee should know can be listed as;

Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is a data trail that you leave behind when you use the Internet. It includes the websites you browse, emails you send, and data you enter into online services.

A passive digital footprint is a data trail that you leave online accidentally. When you visit a website, for example, the web server may record your IP address, which identifies your Internet service provider and approximate location. While your IP address may vary and does not include any personally identifiable information, it is nevertheless regarded as a part of your digital footprint. Your search history, which is retained by some search engines while you are logged in, is a more personal component of your passive digital footprint.

Data that you intentionally submit online is considered an "active digital footprint." Because you anticipate the data to be seen and/or saved by another person, sending an email contributes to your active digital footprint. Your digital footprint expands as you send more emails. Because most individuals save their email online, the communications you send may be accessible for several years or more.

Ransomware

As you might guess, the ransom in ransomware refers to the act of demanding a sum of money in exchange for releasing the system from any harm caused by the malware.

Ransomware is a subclass of malware that differs in that its actual function is served after a system has been infected, limiting access to files and data on the system, and notifying the system's owner or users.

Dark Web

The dark web is a section of the World Wide Web that can only be accessed with specialized software. The most widely used program is known as TOR. It enables users to connect on networks anonymously without disclosing identifying information such as personal locations.

TOR, or The Onion Router, is a free and open-source software program developed by US military researchers to allow for the sharing of information in a completely anonymous manner. They eventually made this available to the public, producing white noise and obscuring messages for security considerations. The program is used to disguise the identities of users.

Malware

Malware is a general word for malicious computer programs that are designed to inflict harm and exploit weaknesses in a system, service, or computer network.

Understanding malware is critical since billions of malware attacks are carried out each year. In 2020, around 5.6 billion malware attacks occurred, a decrease from 2019.

Malware is software that infects computer systems, devices, networks, and servers. To infect devices, hackers and bad actors frequently employ phishing emails, malicious files that victims mistakenly download, corrupted hardware, and other means.

Adware

Advertising-supported software, often known as Adware, is a form of application that, when installed, displays advertising to users while they are online to make revenue.

Adwares are typically not malicious and only collect data with the user's permission. Facebook, YouTube, Google, and others are instances of free applications that rely on adware to generate cash. Adware is typically employed by 'free' software that uses it to generate cash and occasionally sells commercial versions of themselves that do not include adware.

Firewall

Firewalls are critical components of every corporation because they safeguard precious assets from cyber threats. Even if your firm isn't considered high-risk and is small, there's a good possibility you'll be the victim of a cyberattack. Firewalls, on the other hand, are virtual barriers that defend your network from these threats.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are improved versions of regular firewalls that contain features like in-line deep packet inspection, intrusion detection, website filtering, and more.

They not only detect but also fully prevent malicious transmissions from entering your network. NGFWs can detect and counteract assaults in real-time throughout the whole network. Next-Generation Firewalls will continue to be key components of any organization's security strategy as cyber-attacks become more sophisticated.

Breach

Any incident that leads to unauthorized access to computer data, applications, networks, or devices is considered a security breach. As a result, data is accessed without authority. It usually happens when an invader can circumvent security measures.

There is a technical distinction between a security breach and a data leak. A security breach is essentially a break-in, but a data breach is defined as a cybercriminal escaping with data. Consider a burglar: the security breach occurs when he climbs through the window, and the data breach is when he steals your wallet or laptop.

Breach classifications;

  • Real-world crimes such as burglary and equipment theft, as well as any situation in which your company's equipment is misplaced or lost in transit, are examples of physical breaches. Unauthorized devices can be placed on a system or network, compromising data confidentiality and integrity even further. Physical breaches can also occur when obsolete equipment is resold, donated, or recycled without being adequately cleansed of potentially sensitive information.
  • Network and system security breaches occur when computers become infected with harmful code, are accessed remotely by unauthorized users, or are utilized maliciously by authorized individuals. This can also include breaches to network routers and firewalls, both within and outside the boundaries and management of your organization.
  • Data breaches, defined as the leakage or spilling of sensitive information into insecure channels, can occur as a result of any of the above-mentioned situations. Data breaches can also occur when sensitive information is inadvertently exposed.

IP Address

An IP address is assigned to each computer on an Ethernet network. A network machine is identified by an IP address, which is similar to your home's street address. Because each computer has its IP address, traffic flow between them is facilitated.

An internet protocol address (IP address) is a numerical identifier associated with a certain computer or computer network. When computers are linked to the internet, their IP addresses allow them to send and receive data.

Phishing

Phishing is a common method of obtaining personal information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card credentials by deceiving the victim, primarily through email. According to a new investigation, Google has detected 2.02 million phishing websites since the beginning of 2020.

Cybercriminals are sending out fraudulent emails that appear to be from legitimate senders and include critical information on the coronavirus. Attachments in these emails include malware or ransomware that, if downloaded, can have a large impact on your entire organization.

These spoof emails may appear to come from government bodies such as the CDC, as well as your HR department or corporate leadership. While working remotely, your staff have most certainly received several valid notifications about COVID-19, which may have relaxed their defenses. They might not think twice about downloading a PDF claiming to include safety tips or new company processes.

Like the other scams, spear phishing works through impersonation, and it's easier to pull out during COVID-19. Your employee receives an email that appears to come from a reliable source, such as their supervisor, a bank, or a vendor. Typically, the email requests credentials such as logins and passwords or redirects the recipient to a website that collects credentials.

In 2019, business email compromise (BEC) cost businesses in the United States $1.7 billion. It can target everyone in your firm who handles money transactions.

Typically, the target of a BEC phishing operation receives an email that looks to be from a company or contact with whom your organization has a working relationship. The email requests that funds be transferred to a new account. With many organizations changing procedures during COVID-19, BEC scammers can easily explain the new account.

BEC works because, in many situations, BEC fraudsters will have researched, or penetrated, your organization's specific vendors and partners to ensure they're impersonating a contact of your employees' trust.

3. Establish a Process for Employees Coming-Going

Employees will come and go relatively regularly during a company's growth phase. Businesses must maintain track of tech-related stuff such as user access, email accounts, software, and any other programs that were downloaded or used in their daily job. Both HR and IT are in charge of this. When there is a change in workers, human resources should be in continual communication with the IT team to determine who requires access and who should be removed from access. After an employee leaves, IT should wipe all devices clean and update all devices with current software and programs.

Here is a list of some of the chores that should be accomplished for employees who are leaving the company:

  • Disable (rather than deleting) their access to all systems.
  • Remove all corporate data from their devices.
  • Ensure that the employee returns all company-owned gadgets, such as tablets, USB drives, laptops, cell phones, pagers, and so on. Give them a form to sign saying that they have returned everything.
  • Be aware of all data storage sites - cloud platforms, for example.
  • Remove and remove email accounts affiliated with the firm.
  • Access to any corporate sharing platforms should be disabled.
  • Moving forward, move files to a more appropriate location.
  • Update the company's website, directory, data center, and so on.
  • Contact any vendors with whom the employee has worked regularly. Inform them of your leaving and refer them to a new contact.

4. Appoint A Security Officer

Many remote teams work on projects with many leaders, a project manager, a technical lead, and a business analyst, for example. However, it is critical that working groups choose a security officer. This does not have to be an IT security expert, but rather the person in charge of ensuring that business is conducted safely throughout a project. It prioritizes security not only in all projects but also to keep your company safe from cyber-attacks.

5. Have Comprehensive Policies Guarding Sensitive Information

First and probably most important, it is vital to have a thorough set of procedures in place for any sensitive material (code, data, business information) that leaves the premises. This should include protocols for safeguarding and securing remote computers, encrypting data at rest, and encrypting all connections (VPN management). This must be applied to all remote devices (workstations, phones, laptops).

6. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication For Everyone

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) is a security feature that many websites, services, and gadgets provide that significantly increases account security. MFA is also known as Two-Factor Authentication (or 2FA) in some circles. MFA might technically refer to a system that uses more than two sources of authentication.

In any case, here's how it works. If you have MFA enabled for a specific account (website, application, or device), when you log in with your username and password, the account server will request a second, independent form of authentication before allowing you to access the system. e to demonstrate who you are in two ways!

It's similar to when you create a bank account and they ask for a photo ID as well as another kind of documentation, such as your social security card or passport. When you have to appear to be someone you're not, it's considerably more difficult.

7. Don't Allow Public Wi-Fi Access

When you're at home, you may take precautions to safeguard your home wireless network, including as using a strong router password, restricting which devices can connect to your network, and enabling encryption, which scrambles the information you send over the internet into a code that others cannot read. However, there isn't much you can do to regulate the network security of your favorite coffee shop's Wi-Fi.

What is the significance of this? If the network isn't secure and you visit an unencrypted site, or one that just employs encryption on the sign-in page, other network users can see what you see and transmit. They can hijack your session and log in as you. New hacking tools, which are freely available online, make this simple, even for those with minimal technical knowledge. Personal information, confidential papers, contacts, family photographs, and even your login credentials might all be compromised.

8. Use A Companywide Password Manager

Individual users can benefit from dedicated password managers, which can assist increase the security of their workstations and digital information. When it comes to company security, though, it's essential to search for solutions that are purpose-built for enterprise requirements.

Password managers only maintain the passwords of one person - which is ideal when the only person you're protecting is yourself. However, businesses are made up of numerous people, each with its own set of requirements when it comes to system access. A password manager cannot control who has access to what information.

An enterprise-level solution, on the other hand, can ensure that no one has more access than they need, preventing cyber attackers from utilizing a compromised account to go directly for the most critical information. Privilege access management (PAM), a cybersecurity approach for regulating, monitoring, safeguarding, and auditing everyone and everything in an IT environment, is an additional element that this sort of enterprise-level solution delivers.

Password managers are a major improvement over having to remember all of your passwords or relying on your browser (or a post-it note) to remember them for you. They can save you time, improve your security, and clear your mind of a lot of mental clutter. However, if you're seeking to manage access on a large scale, you'll require privileged access management.

9. Provide a Virtual Private Network

VPNs enables employees to securely access an organization's internal network and data from any location. The program creates a secure tunnel between a user's device and the service data center, encrypting the data sent.

However, utilizing a VPN to obtain access to these resources entails a responsibility to the enterprise, particularly to respect the organization's security requirements. Most businesses set acceptable use policies for services and hardware in the workplace, but as more employees work outside the office, these policies become increasingly important.

10. Use a Centralized Storage Solution

When hackers target remote workers, their goal is to obtain access to critical corporate data. To avoid data theft, a centralized method of storage is required. If your firm provides this sort of solution, make sure you constantly use it. It may be a smart idea to invest in centralized storage for a corporation that does not have it.

The advantages of centralized storage are numerous. It is easier to maintain both the hardware and the data if data is kept in one location. This entails tighter control over data protection, version control, and security. It refers to a unified, consistent set of data. It implies having more control over the hardware setup, capacity, and performance. And, by concentrating your efforts on one location, you will save money and lower your risk.