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      Remote working cyber threats
      BY Nathan Killick

      Trends towards the provision of flexible working for colleagues and demands from customers to visit them at their place of business have required legal firms to adapt to remote working.

      The internet, Wi-Fi, and 4G/5G connections means that much of the work which could be completed in the office


      But how should your firm react to evolving cyber threats targeting remote workers. In this article, Sprout IT examines:

      • why colleagues should be wary of Wi-Fi
      • the importance of firewalls
      • anti-virus software and the protection it providers
      • effective and secure password management
      • why all data should be encrypted at all times
      • why colleagues need to be as wary of email they receive remotely as email they receive in the office
      • why you should connect to the mobile network and not Wi-Fi for sensitive tasks.



      Be wary of Wi-Fi


      You may think that Wi-Fi is secure but it’s not. The Wi-Fi in your home, in your office, and in the local coffee shop is vulnerable to hacking.


      Particularly in public places, colleagues should take real care over what they use their device to do because a sophisticated hacker could intercept their internet traffic putting your practice’s or chambers’ sensitive client information at risk.




      A firewall is something that sits between your devices and what your devices are connecting – in most cases, the Internet.


      Your company’s firewall has certain rules it follows and it follows those rules when it decides whether it should allow incoming or outgoing traffic from your device or the Internet or whether it should block it.


      Firewalls are available for all types of devices including mobile phones and tablets for colleagues working from home or out of the office.


      Antivirus software


      Antivirus software, sometimes called anti-malware software, sits on your device running in the background checking everything that a device is trying to download.


      Antivirus software prevents, detects, and removes any malware it spots on your device. It examines everything – apps, programs, software, music and video files, web pages, documents – monitoring how they behave and also looking underneath to see if there are any threats hidden in what it’s examining.


      Antivirus software is available for all types of connected device and it’s one of the most powerful ways to stop you being a victim of cybercrime.


      Please make sure you have the latest security patches from software and app providers on all your devices.


      Password management


      There are so many different websites we visit, systems we log onto, and apps we download in the course of the working day which require us to enter a username and password into before they’ll let use them in the way we want to use them.


      The fact that there are so many of them means that we tend to use the same passwords again and again and we tend not to make the passwords that complicated. One well-known security consultant recently published the 25 worst passwords on the internet and they revealed that 10% of us use one of them with 3% of us using “123456”.


      That means that if a hacker has 100 different accounts they’re trying to gain access to, 3 of them will use “123456” – that’s scary.


      Always use different passwords on different sites and systems and, if you can, try to change them regularly to stay one step ahead of the people trying to steal your personal and financial details.


      You might want to consider a password management program so you don’t have to remember log-in details for multiple sites, services, and platforms. Multi-factor authentication is also useful for staff on the road.


      Encrypt all information, particularly sensitive information


      If you’re handling sensitive information (either yours or information on your client), always use encryption when sending and receiving files.


      Encryption is a special way of sending data and files between devices and if someone intercepts that data and they don’t have the right “encryption key”, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to steal client and company information.


      Be careful online and with emails


      Viruses and other malware can infect colleagues’ device if you open an attachment on an email, run a Flash file on your browser, or download something from the Internet.


      Even if you have antivirus software installed, there is no guarantee that it will spot any malicious download or attachment. The high likelihood is that it will spot programs and apps that you shouldn’t download anyway but you should always exercise proper caution.


      Connect to 3G, 4G, or 5G for sensitive tasks


      Wi-Fi is not secure and a sophisticated hacker can break into your Wi-Fi connection sometimes within seconds. To hack into Wi-Fi, a cybercriminal needs to be within a short distance of the Wi-Fi unit.


      In libraries, train stations, coffee shops, and more, legal staff are at risk. It’s almost impossible to tell when Wi-Fi has been hacked but, if it has been, colleagues may become the victims of data theft without even being aware that security has been compromised.


      If you’re logging into your legal firm’s network when out of the office, try to use 3G, 4G, or 5G with encryption turned on instead to protect yourself.


      Cybersecurity and data protection out of the office


      Anyone working for a legal firm when working remotely should exercise caution in their use of devices which connect to either your cloud network or internal computer system. The steps we’ve outlined in this article are simple to follow and they can be shared with colleagues via a memo or by incorporation into your colleagues’ employee handbooks.


      To speak with a cybersecurity professional about protecting valuable data when away from the office, please call Sprout IT today on 020 7036 8530 or email us.


      For more information on setting up a remote desktop or working remotely in general, visit our Legal Remote Security Hub page


      Cyber Security cyber threat cyber resilience remote working covid-19