Heightened Coronavirus Travel Ban Raises Cybersecurity Risks & Threats

While the World Health Organization (WHO) hasn’t declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic yet, the infectious disease continues to spread at a rapid pace, affecting both the global economy and global health. The virus has been detected inover 85 countries as of Money and data from Johns Hopkins University confirms more than 110,000 cases of the virus attributed to the COVID-19 disease.

In an attempt to control the spread of the virus, we’ve seen an increase in restrictions on travel. Last week the US announced that travelers coming into the US on direct flights from Italy and South Korea will be screened for symptoms, while travelers from China are already being screened. One sector of the tech economy already feeling the immediate impact of the changing policies is industry events. From travel bans to bans of large gatherings, officials are canceling industry conferences left and right; leaving conference organizers, attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors scrambling to make new plans.

But now, due to the coronavirus outbreak and an increase in travel restrictions, the way we work may be undergoing a radical shift. Now more remote workers are working from home than ever as the global workforce shifts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Soon the cohorts working from home will grow into armies as the Chinese Lunar New Year comes to an end and Chinese companies begin restarting operations. Now because of the heightened pace of coronavirus’s spread, the return to work is likely to usher in the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. In 2020, working from home is no longer a privilege –– it’s a necessity.

While we won’t know the coronavirus’s effects on the overall nature of work for some time, we do know that working from home lends serious questions to the heightened cybersecurity risk for many InfoSec and IT security employees. Unlike working from the office, working from home often means working in an unsecured environment. This shift’s effect on many working specifically in banking and cloud enterprise should cause alarm. Employees with high-access management permissions should be on high alert as they self-quarantine, especially if they are responsible for accessing highly sensitive financial, business or consumer data without proper endpoint security measures in place.

In another risk, outlined in a December 2019 weekly tech advice column, the FBI’s Portland office released an ominous warning to US homeowners, “Your fridge and your laptop should not be on the same network.” That’s because your most vulnerable IoT devices –– think wireless cameras, baby monitors, smart thermostats and smart locks, all hold unique vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited. It’s no secret in the cybersecurity world that today’s hackers specifically target home IoT devices to gain entry to your home’s wireless network.

The FBI’s best advice for keeping your devices secure and safe? “Keep your most private, sensitive data on a separate system from your other IoT devices.” According to the FBI’s recommendation, you should have two routers at home: one for your IoT devices and another one for your more private devices.

Whatever the future of work may look like, the cybersecurity implications of a home-based workforce cannot be denied. Companies and cybersecurity professionals must mobilize to provide their organization’s workforce with proper cybersec and threat prevention training. In order to mitigate the cyber risks of a home workforce, heightened education and training is needed for the cyber risks associated with the post-corona economy.

Learn more about Hub Security’s miniHSm device and military-grade key management solutions and how they can help you stay secure and protected –– no matter where you’re working from.

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