Hackers Are Exploiting Remote Workers

In the shadowy world of cybercrime, the coronavirus emergency is seen as a big opportunity.  Experts are warning of a new wave of cyber attacks targeting those who are forced to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak. There is increasing evidence that hackers are using the concerns over the virus to prey on individuals and that working outside secure office environments opens the door to more cyber vulnerabilities. 

Periods of change and transition create new vectors of attack, new exposure surfaces to exploit, and new ways to steal the personal data of employees or the trade secrets of companies.

Experts say that cyber criminals are devising ways of taking advantage of millions of employees transitioning to work-from-home situations. They know that employees will be connecting to their companies’ servers and other resources in a very different way. They are also aware that many employees will be doing their work on computers normally used for personal affairs, and that other workers will rely more on their mobile devices in the absence of a work computer.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has urged that organisations keep their systems updated and patched and be transparent with employees about the dangers of malicious emails, particularly those that use coronavirus fears to tempt individuals to click on them and download computer viruses.

In Britian the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), UK, has issued a security advisory, urging those who use smart cameras and baby monitors in the home to take the steps necessary to protect their devices from cyber criminals.

Similar to large parts of the world at present much of Israeli public are working from home under movement restrictions following the government directives ordering non-essential workers to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Officials there say criminals are using telephone ‘phishing’ attacks to try to access company login credentials and the Israeli National Cyber Authority has warned the public of an increased danger of hacking attacks as more Israelis work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

They specifically warned of so-called voice phishing or “vishing” attacks, a type of phone fraud where criminals scam victims into giving up private information, usually for identity theft. Phishing attacks are carried out via email or other online communication.

In attacks that took place this week in Israel, workers received phone calls that appeared to be from their companies’ computer departments asking for their usernames and passwords. The hackers aim to infiltrate the firms to gain information for leaks, access encrypted files, destroy information or cause other damage to the organization or its employees, the cyber authority said.

An Israeli financial company has resited an attempted hacking of its employees when some of the firm’s workers received calls purportedly from its technical department asking in Hebrew for usernames and passwords to the company’s virtual private network. 

The Israeli National Cyber Authority which recommends that companies raise awareness among their workers, and use two-step and multi-channel authentication measures. In recent weeks the authority has warned several times of fraud online amid the pandemic, saying it has identified over 5,000 suspicious coronavirus-related websites.

Israeli National Cyber Directorate:     Times of Israel:     SC Magazine:     Fast Company:      The Hill:   


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