Cyber Distancing: A critical corporate requirement in the new normal?

Cyber Distancing

Security leaders say that with an increasingly remote workforce, the lines separating home and work activities have rapidly blurred, which may put the corporate networks in grave danger

The pandemic forced the corporate workforce to shift to remote locations suddenly. As a result, end-users and employees are often not aware of the lines separating office and home activities.

It is not a new habit and has been observed by security departments for ages. However, in the current scenario, as millions were forced to work from remote locations, this habit has reached unprecedented levels.

If the habit is not kept in check, it can result in blurred boundaries, which opens the doors to hackers. It provides them with potential new avenues to harvest sensitive corporate data or gain a foothold in the company’s network.

CISOs believe that employees should practice “cyber distancing” in addition to “social distancing” to reduce critical threats. They promote practicing six feet distance between digital work life and home life. This will help to safeguard the most critical and sensitive corporate data in the long run.

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Security leaders believe that if an organization doesn’t implement a virtual desktop solution that separates the domestic environment from the official work, it will expose its sensitive data to threat actors.

CISOs say that certain measures need to be taken to harden the home networks so that sensitive data that employees work with day in and day out is treated with utmost care.

Many employees have outfitted their home networks with multiple security layers like two-factor authenticated Wi-Fi hotspots, several cybersecurity products that can protect the boundary, and the industrial level of firewalls.

Some, however, still use the traditional rental router that they received from the cable company. Such users often end up using the default settings that come with the device, too.

This behavior needs to change, especially in a pandemic. It is vital that employees and organizations distance themselves from conventional cyber activities.

Recommendation for home network

Security leaders say that some of these measures may sound difficult for the end-users to implement but are easy to deploy and budget-friendly. Users only need access to their router’s homepage and this information, along with the default password, is available on the router.

Avoid broadcasting the Wi-Fi’s SSID

Security leaders say that when SSID or a network name is broadcasted, any random person walking around the user’s house boundary, neighbor, or someone with a wireless booster network can pick signals and access the network. The domestic network will not be vulnerable if the broadcasting is disabled.

Default passwords should be modified

CISOs say that it is vital that the administrative password present with the router since often such routers come with a complex password that may be difficult to break, but it is better to keep a password known to the user alone.

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WPA2 Encryption with strong passwords

Security leaders say that remote employees should keep a password with 20+ characters in length with a combination of symbols, letters, and numbers. The length may seem high, but it prevents strangers and hackers from randomly guessing or hacking the password with nefarious software.

Disable remote access

Employees should disable remote access, especially when they are working on office work. This prevents opening a backdoor for the hackers. The setting can be disabled in the configurations tab.

Other necessary measures include regular updates to the router firmware, hardening the connected IoT devices, etc. Smart devices often open up liabilities in the network and should be dealt with in the earliest and effective manner.