Unprepared remote workers put cybersecurity at risk
62% use private devices for remote work and 73% have not had proper security training when working from home, study finds.
News research shows that working from home has created new cybersecurity risks for many people. A study by NordVPN revealed that 62% of employees are vulnerable to cyber attacks due to using personal computers for remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These findings have alarmed cybersecurity experts. “Personal laptops might lack the necessary security software, such as an antivirus, a business VPN, and others. On top of that, people tend to be more relaxed when using personal computers. They may download games, browse shady websites, and click suspicious links,” says Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN. On top of that, a new report by Kaspersky revealed that 51% of workers admit to watching adult content on devices they use for work purposes.
The Kaspersky research revealed additional concerns. Employees feel unprepared to face cybersecurity issues that may arise when working from home. Almost three-quarters (73%) of workers say they had no special IT security awareness training after they switched to working from home full-time. In addition to that, only half (53%) of workers say they are using a VPN to access their employer’s network when working from home.
“VPN gives employees secure access to their work-related documents and information. So the fact that nearly half of the surveyed people don’t use it raises serious concerns,” says Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN.
Despite not taking security measures, most respondents are very organized when it comes to working from home. 74% have either a dedicated office or a desk for work, 11% use the kitchen table, 5% work from the sofa, and 3% have no set comfortable place and move around. Only 2% of all respondents work from their beds.
However, according to the Kaspersky research, a third (32%) of employees say their current working conditions are less comfortable than their usual office environment. This is probably because they don’t have the proper office chairs and desks. The research also reveals that many people are suffering from back pain by resorting to using kitchen stools or slouching on their sofas.
When it comes to maintaining a proper work-life balance, people don’t feel like their work-life balance is suffering. 48% had no trouble separating their work from their free time, 33% had difficulty in balancing work and leisure, and 18% were undecided.
But daily server loads of NordVPN Teams, a product only used for work purposes, revealed that people are spending up to 3 hours longer logged in. That means the average workday is now approaching 11 hours. This enormous (37.5%) jump in working hours was chiefly recorded in the US, but the numbers have been rising all over the world. For example, the UK, Canada, France, Spain, and other European countries saw a hefty 2-hour increase.
People also seem to be careful when it comes to new apps — 54% of all respondents hadn’t downloaded any new apps since the lockdown began. 24% downloaded new apps deemed necessary by their employer, 12% chose apps for leisure (such as exercise, cooking, or gaming apps), and only 8% got new productivity apps.
“It’s a good idea to research and install apps that could make you more productive, help manage your day-to-day tasks, and keep you secure online. Using a password manager with a secure sharing function, such as NordPass, could be a good alternative to sending credentials via DM or email. People often forget that it can be unsafe to send passwords via a messaging platform or email. If you do, make sure you delete the message immediately after the password was saved somewhere else. Otherwise, you risk compromising the password in case of a data breach,” explains Daniel Markuson, adding that new apps should only be downloaded from secure and trusted sources.
In the end, 43% of respondents thought that they were more productive when working from home, compared to 36% who felt ambiguous about the situation. Only 19% claimed they were less productive.
This study was conducted over the last two weeks of March 2020. In total, 5,000 people who were working from home due to social distancing were surveyed.
This article was contributed by NordVPN