For businesses without access to top data/security experts, working remotely during the pandemic has made them a top target for hackers. To discuss cybersecurity best practices businesses can learn from this situation, we talked to Jorge Rey, Kaufman Rossin’s Chief Information Security Officer.
Security magazine: What is your title and background?
Rey: I am the Chief Information Security Officer for Kaufman Rossin. I am responsible for the firm’s compliance with federal and state cybersecurity and information privacy laws and regulations. As the Cybersecurity and Compliance Principal, I bring my expertise in cybersecurity and information privacy to the firm's clients.
I help organizations ranging from startups to large public and privately held companies address information security, compliance and IT needs. My experience includes information management and governance, IT security, risk management, technology and consulting. I also provide SOC reports for companies in the financial services, healthcare, and technology industries.
I am Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
Security magazine: Why is connecting to home Wi-Fi one of the biggest risks?
Rey: While working remotely, we’re constantly sharing sensitive information over the internet. If the connection isn't properly secured and encrypted, it creates an access point for attackers and your data could be exposed. The first step to protecting your business data is to ensure that everyone’s wireless connection is properly encrypted. Instruct your teams to turn on full encryption from their wireless access point and set up strong passwords.
Security magazine: What are some of the dangers of mixing professional and personal devices?
Rey: When employees use personal devices to conduct business, the organization has no oversight of those devices’ setup, which may not include proper encryption or the latest version of an operating system. Critical security patches may not have been installed on employee laptops for more than six months.
Employee laptops that have out-of-date antivirus definitions may be vulnerable to malware attacks, which could go undetected and may be exploited by an attacker. Antivirus definitions are not configured to automatically update.
An attacker who has gained access to a vulnerable endpoint using a misconfiguration error might find other vulnerabilities that are only accessible from inside the network.
Security magazine: Why has the COVID-19 pandemic created more opportunities for cybersecurity attacks?
Rey: Many employees are now working remotely, using personal devices to conduct company business, logging onto critical systems using vulnerable networks, and they may not installed critical security patches installed onto their devices. The technologies that make it easier for employees to work efficiently also create new access points for would-be attackers.
Security magazine: What are the repercussions of not keeping systems up to date?
Rey: The latest operating systems include security patches to known vulnerabilities. Not updating means you could be exposed to known threats.
Security magazine: How can oversharing screens put users/employees at risk?
Rey: Sharing your screen with other individuals, both from within and outside your organization, could expose critical information, such as login information, personal and business data, private emails or chats, and other sensitive details. The best way to avoid over-sharing when inviting others to view your screen is to check that all sensitive windows are closed to avoid accidentally exposing information. Also, remember that anyone viewing your screen can easily take screenshots.
Security magazine: What are some best practices for staying secure while working from home?
Rey: The most important step to secure your remote connection is to use properly encrypted Wi-Fi with a strong password. Then, set up two-factor or multi-factor authentication to access company networks, programs, or sensitive information. You should also check that cloud-based applications and storage are properly configured and secured to avoid introducing vulnerabilities to your business. Keep operating systems and applications up to date to include bug-fixes and proper security configurations.