Whether you work remotely or in an office, the line between personal and work tasks can become blurred when working on your company computer. If you’re in front of a computer for most of your time during work, then it’s not unusual to get attached to your desktop PC.
Over time, this can lead to doing personal things on a work computer. At first, it might just be checking personal email while on a lunch break. But as the line continues to get crossed, it can end up with someone using their work computer just as much for personal reasons as work tasks.
In a survey of over 900 employees, it was found that only 30% said they never used their work PC for personal activities. The other 70% admitted to using their work computer for various personal reasons.
Some of the non-work-related things that people do on a work computer include:
It’s a bad idea to mix work and personal, no matter how much more convenient it is to use your work PC for a personal task during the day. You can end up getting reprimanded, causing a data breach at your company, or possibly losing your job.
Here are several things you should never do on your work PC.
1. SAVE YOUR PERSONAL PASSWORDS IN THE BROWSER
Many people manage their passwords by allowing their browser to save and then auto-fill them. This can be convenient, but it’s not very secure should you lose access to that PC.
When the computer you use isn’t yours, it can be taken away at any time for a number of reasons, such as an upgrade, repair, or during an unexpected termination.
If someone else accesses that device and you never signed out of the browser, that means they can leverage your passwords to access your cloud accounts.
Not all older PCs are stored in a storeroom somewhere or destroyed. Some companies will donate them to worthy causes, which could leave your passwords in the hands of a stranger if the PC hasn’t been wiped properly.
2. STORE PERSONAL DATA
It’s easy to get in the habit of storing personal data on your work computer, especially if your home PC doesn’t have a lot of storage space. But this is a bad habit and leaves you wide open to a couple of major problems:
3. VISIT SKETCHY WEBSITES
You should assume that any activity you are doing on a work device is being monitored and is accessible by your boss. Companies often have cybersecurity measures in place like DNS filtering that is designed to protect against phishing websites.
This same type of software can also send an alert should an employee be frequenting a sketchy website deemed dangerous to security (which many sketchy websites are).
You should never visit any website on your work computer that you wouldn’t be comfortable visiting with your boss looking over your shoulder.
4. ALLOW FRIENDS OR FAMILY TO USE IT
When you work remotely and your work computer is a permanent fixture in your home, it can be tempting to allow a friend or family member to use it if asked. Often, work PCs are more powerful than a typical home computer and may even have company-supplied software that someone wouldn’t purchase on their own.
But allowing anyone else to use your work computer could constitute a compliance breach of data protection regulations that your company needs to adhere to.
Just the fact that the personal data of your customers or other employees could be accessed by someone not authorized to do so, can mean a stiff penalty.
Additionally, a child or friend not well-versed in cybersecurity could end up visiting a phishing site and infecting your work device, which in turn infects your company cloud storage, leaving you responsible for a breach.
At least 20% of companies have experienced a data breach during the pandemic due to a remote worker.
5. TURN OFF COMPANY-INSTALLED APPS LIKE BACKUPS AND ANTIVIRUS
If you’re trying to get work done and a backup kicks in and slows your PC down to a crawl, it can be tempting to turn off the backup process. But this can leave the data on your computer unprotected and unrecoverable in the case of a hard drive crash or ransomware infection.
Company-installed apps are there for a reason and it’s usually for cybersecurity and business continuity. These should not be turned off unless given express permission by your supervisor or company’s IT team.
HOW SECURE IS THE DEVICE YOU USE TO WORK FROM HOME?
Whether you’re working remotely and worried about causing a data breach or are a business owner with multiple remote team members to secure, device protection is important. If you think any of your setup needs a look at we are available to have a quick chat.
In 2020, 75% of companies around the world experienced a phishing attack. Phishing remains one of the biggest dangers to your business's health and wellbeing because it’s the main delivery method for all types of cyberattacks.
One phishing email can be responsible for a company succumbing to ransomware and having to face costly downtime. It can also lead a user to unknowingly hand over the credentials to a company email account that the hacker then uses to send targeted attacks to customers.
Phishing takes advantage of human error, and some phishing emails use sophisticated tactics to fool the recipient into divulging information or infecting a network with malware.
Mobile phishing threats skyrocketed by 161% in 2021.
Your best safeguards against the continuous onslaught of phishing include:
To properly train your employees and ensure your IT security is being upgraded to meet the newest threats you need to know what new phishing dangers are headed your way.
Here are some of the latest phishing trends that you need to watch out for in 2022.
PHISHING IS INCREASINGLY BEING SENT VIA TEXT MESSAGE
Fewer people are suspicious of text messages than they are of unexpected email messages. Most phishing training is usually focused on the email form of phishing because it’s always been the most prevalent.
But cybercrime entities are now taking advantage of the easy availability of mobile phone numbers and using text messaging to deploy phishing attacks. This type of phishing (called “smishing”) is growing in volume.
People are receiving more text messages now than they did in the past, due in large part to retailers and service businesses pushing their text updates for sales and delivery notices.
This makes it even easier for phishing via SMS to fake being a shipment notice and get a user to click on a shortened URL.
BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE IS ON THE RISE
Ransomware has been a growing threat over the last few years largely because it’s been a big money-maker for the criminal groups that launch cyberattacks. A new up-and-coming form of attack is beginning to be quite lucrative and thus is also growing.
Business email compromise (BEC) is on the rise and being exploited by attackers to make money off things like gift card scams and fake wire transfer requests.
What makes BEC so dangerous (and lucrative) is that when a criminal gains access to a business email account, they can send very convincing phishing messages to employees, customers, and vendors of that company. The recipients will immediately trust the familiar email address, making these emails potent weapons for cybercriminals.
SMALL BUSINESSES ARE BEING TARGETED MORE FREQUENTLY WITH SPEAR PHISHING
There is no such thing as being too small to be attacked by a hacker. Small businesses are targeted frequently in cyberattacks because they tend to have less IT security than larger companies.
43% of all data breaches target small and mid-sized companies, and 40% of small businesses that become victims of an attack experience at least eight hours of downtime as a result.
Spear phishing is a more dangerous form of phishing because it’s targeted and not generic. It’s the type deployed in an attack using BEC.
It used to be that spear-phishing was used for larger companies because it takes more time to set up a targeted and tailored attack. However, as large criminal groups and state-sponsored hackers make their attacks more efficient, they’re able to more easily target anyone.
A result is small businesses receiving more tailored phishing attacks that are harder for their users to identify as a scam.
THE USE OF INITIAL ACCESS BROKERS TO MAKE ATTACKS MORE EFFECTIVE
We just discussed the fact that large criminal groups are continually optimizing their attacks to make them more effective. They treat cyberattacks like a business and work to make them more profitable all the time.
One way they are doing this is by using outside specialists called Initial Access Brokers. This is a specific type of hacker that only focuses on getting the initial breach into a network or company account.
The increasing use of these experts in their field makes phishing attacks even more dangerous and difficult for users to detect.
BUSINESS IMPERSONATION IS BEING USED MORE OFTEN
As users have gotten savvier about being careful of emails from unknown senders, phishing attackers have increasingly used business impersonation. This is where a phishing email will come in looking like a legitimate email from a company that the user may know or even do business with.
Amazon is a common target of business impersonation, but it also happens with smaller companies as well. For example, there have been instances where website hosting companies have had client lists breached and those companies sent emails impersonating the hosting company and asking the users to log in to an account to fix an urgent problem.
More business impersonation being used in phishing attacks mean users have to be suspicious of all emails, not just those from unknown senders.
IS YOUR COMPANY ADEQUATELY PROTECTED FROM PHISHING ATTACKS?
It’s important to use a multi-layered strategy when it comes to defending against one of the biggest dangers to your business's wellbeing. We can provide you with a cybersecurity audit to review your current security posture and identify ways to improve.