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Remote workers “one click away” from cyberattack

Alan Price, CEO - BrightHR

With one in three UK workers currently still based at home and one in five UK workers having received no training on cyber-security, remote working continues to be a serious headache for IT security software bosses worldwide.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has dealt with more than three times as many ransomware incidents in 2020 compared to previous years. Ransomware is a malware that can steal an organisation’s computer data through other corporate and cloud-based networks that can use software. The hackers then ask for a payment in return for releasing the files.

Ransomware has posed a cybersecurity threat to companies and infrastructure for years, but this threat has significantly intensified in recent years. It is estimated that the true global cost of ransomware in 2020 was a minimum of £30bn and maximum of nearly £145bn, highlighting the true scale of this threat.

Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, says: “Cyber-attacks can be catastrophic for both SME’s and large enterprises; therefore, businesses should not underestimate the impact of the pandemic and working from home has had on their vulnerability.”

Social engineering and phishing emails prove the most successful when there is a climate of uncertainty, such as the pandemic, with hacking specialists warning that such attacks are highly likely to become more frequent. A recent UK survey has found that 39% admitted that their cyber-security practises at home are less secure than those practised in the office pre-COVID.

Price says: “The total volume of amounts paid in ransomware has tripled over the last year, with cyber threats increasing exponentially. There are several factors that have attributed to this rise, but one of the most critical has been this shift to remote working because of the pandemic.

“Home workers are almost one click away from falling victim to an attack, firms urgently need policies in place, so staff know where and whom to report any threats to. Now, with many workers gradually returning to the office once again, it is imperative companies take several steps to ensure that the right security procedures are put in place to guarantee both employees and businesses are protected from ransomware attacks in the future.”

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