Experts Issue Home Network Warnings During Pandemic

By Ben Hamill - March 19 2020

Experts Issue Home Network Warnings During Pandemic

As if dealing with a global pandemic isn’t enough, federal employees working from home now face having to navigate an additional challenge. Cyber security experts are warning public servants as well as employees working in corporate industries to steer clear of sites like YouTube and Facebook when working on virtual private networks (VPNs) connected via ordinary civilian networks at home, which may very well be directly tied to the sudden spike in cyber security breaches and overall malevolent online activity.

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What with the number of employees now housebound because of Covid-19 being higher than ever before, cyber criminals now have what one security expert describes as a “huge opportunity” to steal online credentials and other compromised details. Rafal Rohozinski, CEO of the SecDev Group of Companies, warns that employees are most vulnerable right at the moment of receiving instructions on how to establish connections to internal corporate and federal networks.

This Was Never The Plan

According to Rohozinski, the problem at hand relates mainly to capacity and internal security structures. It’s not as if there is anything essentially flawed about at-home connections, but instead that what humanity is currently experiencing is unusual and very new. Federal government systems, not to mention even typical corporate systems, were never designed with a mass and very sudden migration of employees from work- to home-office in mind. The last time humanity faced anything even remotely resembling the current Coronavirus pandemic was back in 1918.

The current increase in phishing being employed in an attempt to steal people’s credentials is a huge concern for governments as well as corporate institutions, said Rohozinski, and officials and employees should be extra cautious and vigilant during this critical time.

A Warning To Employees

A major media house on Tuesday managed to get hold of a memo circulated among federal employees. The memo warns those now stationed in home offices to be mindful of how phishing attempts work and to be on guard against becoming victims of their information being unlawfully accessed. The memo furthermore advises that employees should steer clear of social media platforms and of transferring large amounts of data at any given time.

And what with systems and networks now being under increased strain, federal workers are warned that there may be issues experienced when trying to connect remotely to central servers for the purpose of conducting things like teleconferences.

Canada’s electronic surveillance agency, namely the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), has in the meantime confirmed that it has launched a large-scale counterattack on Covid-19 related phishing sites mimicking federal government.

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