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Risks of working from home

JOBURG – Managing director of KnowBe4 Africa Anna Collard warned that organisations need to continue with security awareness training during times like these.

Today (8 April) marks 13 days into the 21-day lockdown as declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

If you’re working from home, you’ve already experienced the challenges around finding a quiet place to have calls, the struggle to keep up with your work schedule while attempting to manage kids, significant others and whatever you’re currently binge-watching on Netflix.

With many countries taking social distancing seriously, remote workers are subjecting themselves and their employer to a number of risks.

Managing director of KnowBe4 Africa Anna Collard explained some of these risks:

  • Blending personal and work surfing: Collard noted that while studies have shown the work/life balance makes workers more productive, it also means that any cyberattack – be it phishing drive-by downloads, malware-laden websites, malicious links, etc. – will infect the same machine used to log onto corporate resources on the web.
  • Lowered defences: “You’re in your pyjamas half the day, working in a semi-prone position on the couch. Let’s face it: protecting the organisation’s data and using best security practices is the last thing on your mind,” said Collard.
  • You overshare: “The sharing of work and personal details can potentially be used by cybercriminals who use this information as part of their diligence targeting you as a potential victim,” added Collard.
  • You’re lonely: Collard warned that many scammers use online dating to take advantage of people.
  • Online distraction: “Having a good laugh at the latest meme is a great stress release. It also means the constant pings keep us distracted and less likely to pay attention to the links we click or forward,” explained Collard.

Collard added that organisations need to continue with security awareness training during times like these to reinforce the shared responsibility of users in the organisation to participate in organisational security. “Without it, each employee is going to following the all-too-similar path of getting way too comfortable at home and putting away thoughts of keeping themselves and the organisation secure.”

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