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Remote working during COVID-19 pandemic puts cyber security at risk

14:19 | 02/04/2020

As a number of firms have allowed their employees to work from home to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity might suffer, with employees' devices and the company's network expose to threats on insecure public WiFi networks, experts told VNS in a statement. 

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remote working during covid 19 pandemic puts cyber security at risk
Working from home brings more cyber threats in Vietnam during the outbreak (Photo: Read to lead)

Working remotely may keep people safe, however, Vu The Binh, vice chairman of Viet Nam Internet Association tells VNS: “Cybersecurity issues are more likely to arise as a result of people working from home, especially for those not using a company computer.”

“A home computer is less likely to be set up as securely as a company one", he adds. “Most home computers contain more risks as they are used by other family members with low or no protection packages.”

In January, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) warned local internet users about cybersecurity, mentioning that various kinds of attacks still exist online and are able to harm users if they are careless. MIC reported 283 cyber-attacks against Vietnamese information systems in the first month of the year. In March, more cases were announced.

Besides the weaker protection at home, cybersecurity experts also warn about using social media as a working platform.

While Binh does not comment on the danger of people using social media like Facebook and Zalo to connect with colleagues, on March 24, according to local media, 41 million Vietnamese Facebook accounts were found leaked on RaidForums – a site on the dark web which is used to sell stolen information.

Binh tells VNS “It is the best if staff use the office computer to work at home.”

However, it is not that easy.

remote working during covid 19 pandemic puts cyber security at risk
Using social media as a working platform can also put cybersecurity at risk (Photo: houseofit.ph)

Among those who are working from home during the pandemic, Truong Quynh Anh, a media planner for a foodstuff company in Ha Noi says: “It is impossible to bring the computer in the office home, as it is sluggish and the procedures to bring something out of the office building is complicated.”

Anh still uses her own laptop with much of her own information, though she knows it is riskier.

She tells VNS: “I have no other choice. They don’t pay me to buy another laptop and I won’t spend on another one for a short period of time."

There is no data on the number of employees who are working from home during this period, but Vu The Binh, vice chairman of Viet Nam Internet Association, thinks “the trend is on the rise.”

In such a situation, Ngo Tran Vu, director of Nam Truong Sơn Security Company, recommends firms and organisations which allow their employees to work online set up a VPN that protects the company’s devices with virtual security software.

Vu says: “Companies may need to enforce two-factor authentication across all assets and for all employees.”

As cybersecurity plays an important role in the safety of a business, Vu tells VNS: “With or without COVID-19, enterprises should give their employees regular and updated training about how to work securely from a distance as working from home is on the rise for sure.”

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