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NCSC warns that firms must ramp up cyber security measures to protect home workers

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An increase in home and remote working has led the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to urge employers to take strong measures to ensure their cyber security is up to scratch.

On Monday (March 16), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recommended that all employees who can work from home should now do so in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

This increase in homeworking will see many people using devices not set up with the security requirements of a typical workplace IT department, such as laptops and routers that haven’t been updated with the latest software.

The NCSC is urging organisations to follow cyber-security guidelines and has published advice to reduce the risk of cyber attacks on deployed devices, as well as tips to help staff spot typical signs of phishing scams.

Firms are also encouraged to set up new accounts and accesses; control access to corporate systems; help staff to look after devices, and try to reduce the risk from using removable media.

The guidance also targets suspicious emails, with evidence emerging that criminals are exploiting the coronavirus online by sending phishing emails that try and trick users into clicking on a bad link.

If clicked, these links could lead to malware infection and loss of key data, such as system passwords. The scams may claim to have a ‘cure’ for the virus, offer a financial reward, or be soliciting donations.

Hackers recently released an Android app that purported to show a real-time map of the spread of COVID-19. It tries to trick users into changing the password for the device before demanding a $100 Bitcoin ransom to unlock it again.

With so many people working from home for the first time this week, the extra demand crippled Microsoft’s collaboration platform Teams on Monday.

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